Ethiopia Protests US Envoy’s Speech Demanding Release of Political Prisoners

Fri May 17 2024
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ADDIS ABABA:  Ethiopia on Thursday lodged a complaint over remarks of the US ambassador after he said the release of political prisoners could help the African nation engage in a productive dialogue and that detaining critics won’t resolve the issues of the country.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement said that Ambassador Ervin Massinga’s speech on policy and human rights contained accusations and unwanted advice, and that it would work with the Embassy to correct the errors in his statement.

The ministry said the statement is ill advised and contains uniformed assertions. It noted that such remarks are contrary to the historic and friendly ties between Ethiopia and the United States.

Massinga in his speech said that detaining critics would not resolve outstanding issues of Ethiopia and that the political dialogue the country needs could be helped by releasing key political figures.

He called upon the government and rebel groups to agree to dialogue and that the African country has far more to gain through peace than on the battle ground.

Federal forces in Ethiopia are engaging in combating several rebel groups in its regions as well as ethnic-related insurgencies, which have caused deaths and the displacement of people.

Human rights groups have blamed federal soldiers for rights abuses in regions like Amhara, where rebel groups are based.

A prominent opposition figure was shot down last month after he was released from prison, and a state-appointed rights group has called for an investigation into his death.

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