Sunday, July 29, 2007

Millennial Opportunities: Victory of Elder's Council Mediation and Intelligent Diplomacy

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity-;;,

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Ethiopia:

Re: Victory of "Classical Elder's Council Mediation" and 'Proactive Intelligent Diplomacy"

This has been a very interesting week where Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia have won both at home and aborad via the mediation of the Classical Elders' Council and highly coordinated proactive intelligent international diplomacy in the corridors of power in Addis Ababa and Washington, DC; Ethiopia and USA respectively.

The reports that are percolating from different sources indicge clearly that there is a unique landmark in Ethiopian Millennium where classical Ethiopian cultural values of "Elder's Council" is synergized with modern constitutional governance.

The two Ambassadors for Ethiopoia and USA from their respective capitals in Addis and Washington DC gave a historical joint interview via and is a classical work of its kind that describes the historical and current unique partneship between the peoples of Ethiopia and the United States of America.

To top it all, the US Congresional Speaker Nancy Pelosi- cancelled the most damaging bill HR2003 from going to the floor after it was marked up by Congresmman Lantos, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs and International Relations.

This is a very important step as many of us including this web site and blogg have beeen involved in active campaign as seen in the attached letter campaign and reports. As we cherish victory, we need to be aware that vigilance is critical to maintain the freedom and unique relationship that was built by the efforts of many patriotic citizens before us. We are continuing in this tradtiional honorable journey.

Please read the report from Addis and here in Washington below for your additional information

You can reach this author for further information on

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity

Int'l community urge all parties to advance dialogue

The governments of Japan, the United States, the heads of mission of the Ethiopia Partners Group and the United Nations have expressed their wish and welcomed this week the government's pardon granted to 38 CUD leaders and others, and called upon to all parties to advance dialogue on peace and democratic progress.

In its statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Japan said that it welcomed the news that the President of the Federal Democratic Republic had pardoned 38 individuals, including opposition leaders, who were sentenced on July 16 to life imprisonment or to other prison terms for their actions during the disturbance in the wake of the third national elections in 2005.

"Japan commends the efforts of the parties concerned, in particular the Ethiopian government and opposition, which resulted in the pardon. Japan hopes that this measure will give momentum to political reforms in Ethiopia," the statement said.

The statement added that Japan would continue to cooperate with the democratization efforts in Ethiopia together with the international community.

The statement signed by the Ethiopia Partners Group chairperson and Ambassador of Canada, Yves Boulanger, said that the heads of mission of the Ethiopia Partners Group would strongly welcome the announcement that President Girmua Woldegiorgis had granted full pardon to those sentenced in the case against leading opposition figures.

The group hoped that that very important decision would contribute to the setting of the stage for political reconciliation.

According to the statement, the group commended the efforts of the elders and mediators who contributed to this result and urged all group in parliament, political forces and civil society to work together in the sprit of openness, dialogue and partnership for Ethiopia's sustainable development.

They hoped that all the others who had been charged in relation with the 2005 elections and who were not included in the pardon would see their trials completed as soon as possible.

Tom Casey, deputy spokesman of the State Department, said that the United States appreciated the efforts of Ethiopian elders and civil society leaders that resulted in the pardon by the Ethiopian government to opposition leaders and journalists. "We hope they will remain engaged in the promotion of national reconciliation and political reform," he said.

The US government commended the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for its "statesmanship" in resolving the issue, he said, adding that the detainees also should be commended for their "commitment to advancing democracy" in Ethiopia.

"The United States calls on all parties to use this breakthrough as the basis to advance dialogue on peace and democratic progress for the benefit of the people of Ethiopia," he added.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also welcomed the recent pardon and release of over three dozen political leaders and activists in Ethiopia and urged fair proceedings for dozens of other defendants still on trial.

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity-,

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Ethiopia:

Re: Millennial Challenges of Promoting the unique special US-Ethiopia Relations in the face of HR2003.

It is becoming crystal clear that yet again there is a struggle even to maintain good relations with friends who have had excellent relationships for over 100 years.

Ethiopia and the United States of America have an usually excellent relationship at the dawn of the 8th Ethiopian-African Millennium which is due to be launched on 12 Septmeber 2007.

However, certain US Congressional representatives have been questioning this relationship and are trying to stress with rather a pejorative and undiplomatic terms and strings being attached to a new bill called HR 2003.

There is a strong campaign by Friends of US-Ethiopia Special Relationship that profess it is time to be counted.

Here is a sample letter that was sent to US Congress, Senate and the White house and we encourage Friends of US-Ethiopia relations to be part of this special campaign.

The time to contact your representatives is now as democracy demands we should participate and engage to preserve what is good and fight against evil.

with regards

Dr B of GSE for PP

Please find attached a rather critical look at the campaign to protect and preserve the special US-Ethiopia relatonships for your considered opinion and fair and ballanced review and perspective on the issue.

25 July 2007

Dear Congressman,

Re: Encouraging you to make HR2003; a win-win partnership bill and remove punitive and pejorative language that does not respect the strong US-Ethiopian Alliance on the War on Terror.

I am writing to encourage your office to taken no further Action on H.R. 2003, unless it is reflects the excellent US-Ethiopia relations and strong unique alliance on the War on Terror.

Given the positive developments in Ethiopia last week, I am writing to urge that the House Foreign Affairs Committee take no further action on H.R. 2003, the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007.

As I am sure you are aware, on July 20th, President Girma Wolde-Giorgis pardoned 38 political leaders who were imprisoned during the violence that followed the May 2005 elections. Many of us who follow events closely in the Horn and Ethiopia in particular believe that the current Presidential Pardon supported by the “Traditional Ethiopian Elder’s Council” is an important step on Ethiopia’s path toward building a better country and stronger democracy.

Most importantly, this act demonstrates that progress can be made when Ethiopia is able to address its own challenges without outside interference. It is critical to acknowledge that Ethiopians do not like nor respect overt or covert pressure outside the normal diplomatic protocol and the current HR2003 is likely to generate unnecessary strain in the otherwise excellent US-Ethiopia relations.

I sincerely believe that Congressman Payne’s bill, (HR20003) while well-intentioned, constitutes meddling in the internal affairs of Ethiopia and will have the unintended consequence of making democracy harder, not easier, to achieve. I encourage you and your colleagues to consider the facts on the ground and substantiate with irrefutable evidence some of the allegations made in the draft Bill and make the appropriate recommendations for transparency and accountability that the bill is demanding on the deliberations and assumptions of this bill in the first place.

I thank you for your continued interest in promoting the ever improving US-Ethiopia relations in the coming Ethiopian Millennium.


Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Founder and Chair of Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc.

Cc: Ambassador Samuel Assefa-Ethiopian Embassy, Washington, DC.
Honorable Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State
President George Bush, President of United States of America


38 CUD leaders, journalists released
A new chapter: Meles

An almost two-year long political saga in Ethiopia seems to be wrapping up, as 38 senior leaders and members of Coalition for Democracy and Unity party (CUD), and journalists were released from prison yesterday after their request for pardon was approved by the president of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Girma Woldegiorgis on Thursday.

“This sorry saga of the so-called Orange Revolution is now fully behind us. This is dead and buried now. This is a new chapter for everyone. I hope it also conveys that there is no sense of revenge and vendetta on the part of the government as long as people recognize that the rules of the game are to be respected by everyone, everyone is given a fair chance to participate,” Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who called a press conference at his office on Friday to announce the news, said.

The mediation process that led to yesterday’s release of the opposition leaders and members was initiated some 18 months ago by Ethiopian elders among whom is the renowned Harvard academician Professor Isaac Ephraim.

Prior to the president’s approval, an investigation into the authenticity of the pardon request, signed by 71 individuals, was conducted by a team headed by the Justice Minister Aseffa Kesito.

Of those who still remain in prison, some have expressed their position that they do not want to sign the request and will see their case through in court.
There are also those who are waiting for the court’s decision and it is expected they will also be granted pardon once the legal process has been concluded.

Of the six journalists who had also signed on the document requesting pardon five have been released and one awaits court decision for his appeal.
The official statement is silent with regards to those who have been convicted in absentia.

According to the Proclamation No. 395/2004, the law providing the procedure for granting pardon, pardon by definition includes co-offenders and accomplices (Art. 2/7/ and 12/6/).

What that means is that while the pardon does not at this time include those co-defendants whose case is not concluded with a final court decision, it includes co-defendants tried and convicted in absentia.

The opposition leaders were detained after the violence which followed the May 2005 elections.

They had claimed that they were denied of their victory due to election fraud.

On Friday, Meles told local and international journalists that the released opposition leaders and members were fully pardoned and that their constitutional rights had been fully restored.

The just released opposition leaders can also pursue public politics if they choose to do so, according to Meles who added that the released opposition leaders and members of CUD would be expected to “respect the rule of law, the constitution and constitutionally mandated institutions.”

In response to questions of the implication of the decision on the integrity of the judicial system in the country Meles said: “The persons concerned have had their day in court, the court has had its say. And once the court has had its final say, according to the laws of this country, the government has the right to pardon specific individuals under certain conditions. The process of pardoning these individuals was carried out meticulously according to the letter and the spirit of the law.”

Meles said while government maintains that the released CUD leaders were responsible for attempting to change the government through unconstitutional means, he also conceded that the manner in which the government tried to manage the situation could have been done in a manner that was “much less damaging.”

“The responsibility for that attempt [to change the government through unconstitutional means] has always been solely theirs. The government had had to put a stop to it, as it is obliged and has a right to. In its efforts to put a stop to it, it could have been done in a much less damaging manner. The government recognizes it needs to refine its capacity to manage such attempts in the future, consistent with the findings of the inquiry commission and the resolution passed by parliament on that matter.”

External Pressure

Immediately after the detention of the now released CUD leaders and members, the international community, particularly from Europe, had been critical of the measure taken by the government.

Some suspended and others delayed their assistance and called for the release of the prisoners.

In the US also, attempts are being made to have congress pass a legislation aimed at “pressuring the Ethiopian government to improve human and political rights.”

Responding whether this latest decision was not in any way arrived at due to such pressures, Meles said that two years ago such pressures had existed but dismissed the notion that those pressures had led to the release of the jailed opposition leaders.

“I am sure you will remember that two years ago a number of representatives of various countries issued a statement here that I have characterized as shameful. A number of countries delayed or refused their development assistance. But we have survived those difficult and trying moments.”

He said that the process was purely an internal one initiated by a number of prominent Ethiopian elders.

With regard to the bill that is being pushed for in the US congress, the prime minister said that it was a number of individuals that were advancing it and not the whole congress.

“It is important to recognize that while they [the congressmen] are entitled to their opinion, and we respect their right to their opinion, it is also important to recognize that this government and this country are incapable, are unwilling and unable to be run like some banana republic from Capitol Hill or anywhere else. Some of these individuals appear to entertain illusions in that regard.”

“Therefore, from time to time we may have to remind such individuals that beyond a certain point - while Ethiopia is currently enjoying excellent relations with the United States and wants to keep it that way - these individuals will have to recognize that this country and this government do not necessarily respond to such endeavors.”

By Namrud Berhane


Source: Harpers

1. Bipartisan Duo of Ex-Congressional Heavyweights Blocking Action Against Ethiopia

Ken Silverstein

There have been a series of accounts out of Ethiopia recently that describe a nasty situation there, including a Human Rights Watch report earlier this month that said the Ethiopian military had “forcibly displaced thousands of civilians in the country’s eastern Somali . . . while escalating its campaign against a separatist insurgency movement.” Government troops were “destroying villages and property, confiscating livestock, and forcing civilians to relocate,” according to Peter Takirambudde, Africa director of Human Rights Watch. “Whatever the military strategy behind them, these abuses violate the laws of war.” Eyewitness accounts offered to Human Rights Watch said Ethiopian troops had been “burning homes and property, including the recent harvest and other food stocks intended for the civilian population, confiscating livestock and, in a few cases, firing upon and killing fleeing civilians.”

Despite that record, the Bush Administration views Ethiopia as an important counterterrorism ally, especially given Ethiopia’s recent involvement in Somalia, and annually provides the regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. But some in Congress have grown weary of abuses committed by Zenawi’s government. Earlier this month a House subcommittee passed a bill that would limit American aid to Ethiopia and ban government officials linked to human rights abuses from coming to the United States. In the Senate, Patrick Leahy of Vermont is seeking passage of a measure that would review some of the military assistance that is being provided.

But two congressmen-turned-lobbyists–former House Majority Leaders Richard Armey, the Republican from Texas, and Missouri Democrat Richard Gephardt–are working hard to block full congressional action against the Zenawi regime. The duo work with the firm of DLA Piper, which federal disclosure records show is being paid at least $50,000 per month by the Ethiopian government for “strategic advice and counsel.”

In 2006, the House International Relations Committee approved the Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act, which criticized the government for its human rights record, called for it to free jailed opposition leaders and restricted security assistance.

But the full House never voted on the bill. Two sources that follow the issue–one a former Hill staffer and the other a lobbyist on African affairs–tell me that Armey twisted the arm of then-House Speaker Denny Hastert to ensure that it didn’t come up for a vote. “Armey has a lot of influence over there,” the former Hill staffer said. “A lot of people in the GOP leadership owe their positions to him.”

Armey has no pull with the new Democratic leadership so now Gephardt has apparently been called on to block full passage of this year’s version of the bill. Gephardt, incidentally, also lobbies for the government of Turkey (another Piper client to the tune of $100,000 per month), as was recently detailed in a terrific New Republic piece in which author Michael Crowley wrote about Gephardt’s efforts to stop Congress from declaring as genocide the Turkish massacre of Armenians during the early twentieth century:

A few years ago, [Gephardt] was a working-class populist who cast himself as a tribune of the underdog–including the Armenians. Back in 1998, Gephardt attended a memorial event hosted by the Armenian National Committee of America at which, according to a spokeswoman for the group, “he spoke about the importance of recognizing the genocide.” Two years later, Gephardt was one of three House Democrats who co-signed a letter to then House Speaker Dennis Hastert urging Hastert to schedule an immediate vote on a genocide resolution.

“We implore you,” the letter read, arguing that Armenian-Americans “have waited long enough for Congress to recognize the horrible genocide.” Today, few people are doing more than Gephardt to ensure that the genocide bill goes nowhere. It’s one thing to flip-flop on, say, tax cuts or asbestos reform. But, when it comes to genocide, you would hope for high principle to carry the day.

Piper’s lobbyists have been working the “war on terrorism” angle hard, arguing that even a hand-slap of Ethiopia for human rights abuses will jeopardize its support in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. (And we all know what a smashingly successful collaboration that’s been.)

I called Armey and Gephardt but never heard back from them. Piper did, however, send me a statement which said:

The U.S. first established diplomatic relations with Ethiopia more than a century ago and Ethiopia remains a close ally today, particularly in the global war against terrorism. It is crucial for the United States to have friends and allies in the strategically important Horn of Africa region who are committed to democracy, stability and moderation.

The firm is assisting Ethiopia in strengthening bilateral relations with the U.S., including increasing humanitarian, economic and development assistance, expanding trade and investment opportunities, and enhancing relationships with financial, academic and public policy institutions.

I had heard that former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine, Chairman of the Global Board of Piper and Co-Chair of its Government Controversies Practice Group, was also working on the account.

The firm’s statement said that Mitchell “has never lobbied or done legal work on behalf of Ethiopia in connection with DLA Piper’s representation.” However, Piper declined to say whether Mitchell had played a role in winning the Ethiopia deal or whether he was offering strategic advice or playing some other role in the contract.

“The pardons by the Government of Ethiopia are commendable,” Louise Arbour said in a statement released in Geneva on last Friday's of action concerning 38 persons.

“They are significant for what they represent in terms of the expansion of the democratic space in Ethiopia and prospects for national reconciliation.”

The trials of another 67 defendants held on charges similar to those previously leveled against the pardoned activists are set to resume on 25 July and 29 October, according to the statement.

The High Commissioner voiced hope the trials of these individuals “will abide by international standards of due process and be concluded in a timely fashion.”

By a Staff Reporter

No comments:

Post a Comment