Ethiopia: Washington Update
By Mesfin Mekonen
The latest news for the WASHINGTON UPDATE is notable as things are stirring in Washington and in other cities.
I have been in contact with the United States Department of State about the current state of affairs in Ethiopia. They are very concerned with the ongoing problems that Ethiopia continues to face regarding human rights abuses in al its many phases- electorally, denials of freedom of speech, press, religion, and basically all personal freedoms.
But now there is a new situation. As we all know Meles has been seriously ill for weeks and has been evacuated to Brussels for treatment. This presents a question as to who is now, or later on will be, running the regime.
As of this afternoon the only reports that we receive is that any coverage of Meles’ health has been banned in Ethiopia. Ethiopians are once again hoping to receive honest news and are not getting any.
According to AP Ethiopian authorities have blocked some 30,000 copies of the independent weekly Feteh. They were blocked on grounds of “inciting national insecurity and endangering the government and the public,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
The precarious health of Meles seems to have provoked his minions in the regime to take an even harder line on reporting on his health. This, of course, only heightens the concerns of all Ethiopians about their futures.
The scheduled Newsmaker at the National Press Club featuring Chris Smith (R-NJ) and chairman of the House Africa subcommittee has been postponed to follow his hearing on Ethiopia with his whole committee in September.
Whatever the date will be we will let you know as soon we know; but the very next day after the hearing Congressman Smith will speak at a Newsmaker at the National Press Club, as he has graciously accepted an invitation to appear at the event. Many such Press Club events are televised by C-SPAN; stay tuned.
The All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP) has announced that it is officially opposed to the ongoing interference with religion going now in Ethiopia.
Another development of interest comes as Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s newly-elected president, has asked Hisham Kandil, irrigation minister, to form a new government. This a surprising nomination but one with some importance to Ethiopia as Kandil was the chief representative of Egypt in the recent talks on water rights in the Nile River basin. This bears watching, as the Blue Nile situation continues to develop in the future.