Ethiopia’s Meles in outburst over Eritrea

Meles Zenawi says Ethiopia has done its best to establish a dialogue with its former foe
Meles Zenawi says Ethiopia has done its best to establish a dialogue with its former foe

ADDIS ABABA (AFP)— Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi accused Eritrea on Saturday of sowing havoc in the region as Addis Ababa reiterated calls for sanctions over Asmara’s alleged support for Somalia’s rebels.

“It is going on and on with its creating havoc agenda. The character of this regime is not changing,” Meles told parliament.

He said that Ethiopia has done its best to establish a dialogue with its former foe, with which it fought a 1998-2000 border war that left more than 80,000 dead.

“We believe in dialogue, we have actually knocked on the door many times and they haven’t responded,” he said.

Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of backing Islamist rebels fighting to overthrow the Somali transitional government, which Ethiopia is helping to prop up. Eritrea denies the accusations.

The African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a six-nation regional grouping, have also called for sanctions against Asmara in recent months.

“The evidence (of Eritrea’s involvement) is definitive, the need (for sanctions) is undeniable,” Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“Every day the crisis worsens. Neither the region as a whole, nor Somalia in particular, can afford the consequences of failure. Peace and security issues affect domestic as well as regional considerations and all the IGAD states need a solution in Somalia, and quickly.”