The U.S. Statement Department has condemned the recent violence in Ethiopia and called on the government to allow all political parties to play a “meaningful role” in the government.
In its second statement in a week on the recent unrest in Ethiopia, a State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli, urged the government to stop using lethal force to suppress demonstrations, to release all political prisoners, and to allow media to operate freely.
The statement also urged demonstrators to stop destroying public and private property.
Mr. Ereli expressed support for a statement issued by U.S. and European ambassadors in Addis Ababa that called for an immediate end to violence and the peaceful resolution of differences.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has defended his government’s response to last week’s protests, saying the police acted to restore order and protect property. Mr. Meles blamed the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) for fomenting violence.
Text of the Statement by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman, U.S. Department of State
The United States deplores the political violence in Ethiopia and urges all parties to prevent actions that could directly or indirectly incite violence, harm individuals, or lead to the destruction of public or private property.
The Ambassadors of the United States and European Union issued a statement in Addis Ababa on November 6, 2005 that offers a way ahead to defuse the current situation and allows the political opposition to play a meaningful role in Ethiopian political life. The United States calls on the Government of Ethiopia to take the actions outlined in that statement.
We particularly note the need to end lethal force, random searches, indiscriminate beatings and arrests; to release political detainees; to grant immediate access by families, legal counsel, and the ICRC or other representative of the international community to jailed opposition party, civil society, and media leaders; to review and revise parliamentary practices and rules to ensure the opposition has an effective voice; to establish an independent commission to investigate death and injuries sustained in the June 8 and recent events; and to reopen private media and establish by all parties a code of conduct to ensure balance and responsible flow of information.