Entries in Ethiopia (4)


Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Dies

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- Ethiopia’s long-time prime minister, Meles Zenawi, died Monday night from an undisclosed illness, state media reported. He was 57.

Under Meles' more than two decades in power, Ethiopia attracted millions of dollars in international development aid and foreign business investment along with making significant strides toward reducing poverty.

Meles was seen as an ally to Western governments concerned about the spread of terrorism in the Horn of Africa. His death has sparked some worry about stability in Ethiopia, which has become an important security partner to the United States.

But human rights and democracy activists criticized Meles for his efforts to maintain strict control of the country. They say he refused to allow any dissent with sometimes violent crackdowns, and that he jailed political opponents and journalists.

Funeral arrangements are being made.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Saleh Leaves U.S. Following Medical Treatment

File photo. Marcel Mettelsiefen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh left the United States on Thursday after being allowed into the country for medical treatment to injuries he sustained last year during an attack on his compound. A U.S. official confirms to ABC News that Saleh flew to Ethiopia, as few countries remain unwilling to take him in.

Longtime Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi will be inaugurated as the country’s president on Monday, part of a two-year transition deal arranged by the Gulf countries that put an end to Saleh’s 33-year rule.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Predator Drones Flying Out of Ethiopia, US Confirms

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration confirmed Friday that it had been quietly operating unarmed Reaper drones out of an airport in eastern Ethiopia as part of the ongoing U.S. counterterrorism effort targeting al Shabab in Somalia. Al Shabab is a militant group affiliated with al Qaeda that has created an unstable security situation in Somalia.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the drones were operating from Ethiopia “as part of our partnership with the government of Ethiopia to promote stability in the Horn of Africa.”  He added, “The UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] are not conducting any strike missions from Ethiopia. There are no U.S. military bases in Ethiopia. ”

Asked why the drones were being sent to Ethiopia, a U.S. official confirmed it was to focus on al Shabab activities in neighboring Somalia.  In recent years, the U.S. has focused counterterrorism efforts on al Shabab as it’s become more evident that the group may want to conduct terrorist strikes against American targets.  

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. has “an intense partnership” with the Ethiopian military in training peacekeeping troops and counterterrorism assistance.  “We are working together on a broad, sustained and integrated campaign to counter terrorism. And in doing so, we are harnessing all tools of American power. So obviously, the Ethiopians themselves don’t have these advanced drone aircraft that can provide intelligence surveillance reconnaissance, so we support their counterterrorism efforts with these aircraft. ”

The administration’s acknowledgement of the previously undisclosed drone program in Ethiopia was prompted by a story in the Washington Post.

Master Sgt. James Fisher, a spokesman for the 17th Air Force, which  oversees Air Force operations in Africa, said the drone flights “will continue as long as the government of Ethiopia welcomes our cooperation on these varied security programs.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clinton Warns African Leaders: Reform or Face Uprisings

US State Dept(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a warning to African leaders Monday: reform or potentially face the same unrest that has threatened to topple longtime rulers in North Africa and the Middle East.

In a speech to the African Union in Ethiopia, Clinton said that citizens are no longer accepting repressive governments and that the Internet and social media are providing a platform like no other for these ideas to spread and take root.

“This wave of activism, which came to be known as the Arab Spring, has particular significance for leaders in Africa and elsewhere who hold on to power at all costs, who suppress dissent, who enrich themselves and their supporters at the expense of their own people,” she said.

“If you believe that the freedoms and opportunities that we speak about as universal should not be shared by your own people, men and women equally, or if you do not desire to help your own people work and live with dignity, you are on the wrong side of history, and time will prove that,” Clinton added pointedly.

Africa’s leaders might have good reason to follow her advice, as Clinton has a track record of being right about this.

In January, in a speech to Arab leaders at a conference in Qatar, Clinton warned that they must reform soon or watch progress “sink into sand.”

Just days later, Tunisian strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali became the first dictator to fall, and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak soon followed suit. Over the following months uprisings threatened to topple the rulers of Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco and elsewhere.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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