Ethiopia: “Expect stability if Meles holds on Power”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi speaks to the media at his office in Addis Ababa, April 13, 2009. REUTERS/Irada Humbatova

If Meles holds on power in the parliamentary elections due this May, the world should expect the stability that he has brought to take deeper root” , European Parliament Foreign Affairs Spokesman.

Though, Ethiopia amidst of unstable region, is standing out to manage fast economic growth and play key role in ensuring peace and stability in the region , Charles Tannock, foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament.

Tannock, who is among European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) , in his comment written on on Monday he said two decades ago, Ethiopia, was a Cold War battlefield.

On the ideological map of the world, Ethiopian was Soviet territory, a land of famine, dictatorship and civil war, he said.

However, after toppling down Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Marxist-Leninist dictatorship in 1991, Ethiopia began to transform itself, he said.

The spokesman said Ethiopia ranks among the five fastest-growing economies in the world and is a bastion of regional stability.

If the Horn of Africa is to be stabilized, Ethiopia will need to play a key part, he said.

The country remains on a war footing with Eritrea over the disputed border village of Badme and the never-ending anarchy of neighboring Somalia is the regional challenges to Ethiopia, he said.

The peace deal between the government and the former rebel SPLM, Kenya situations and Ethiopia’s proximity to strife-torn Yemen just across the Red Sea is complicating the country’s foreign policy because of its role in working to keep Somalia out of Islamist control, he said. Despite these myriad problems Ethiopia has an opportunity to emerge as the undisputed regional leader, he noted.

“Though landlocked, Ethiopia is comparatively well endowed with natural resources, not least its fertile farmland.” he said.

A final settlement of the lengthy dispute with Egypt over the waters of the Blue Nile appears to be in sight, and could have a powerful impact on economic growth, he said. But, despite Ethiopia’s progress, the international community has been reluctant to view the country as a strategic partner, he said and added of course, Ethiopia has its problems, but these should be seen in an African context.

“ If Meles holds on power in the parliamentary elections due this May, the world should expect the stability that he has brought to take deeper root” , he said and added “ regardless of the electoral result, Ethiopia needs international backing.” Ethiopia’s diplomacy will be vital to minimizing the potential for such violence to spread, but Ethiopia can fulfill this role only if it receives strong strategic backing from the West. ” Ethiopia’s leadership throughout the Horn of Africa could bring change in a part of the world that has largely been written off. It is time to give Ethiopia the diplomatic tools it needs” he said.