wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ADDISABABA3803
2005-11-09 05:10:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

AU KONARE'S POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGH ON ETHIOPIAN

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  ET  AF  UNION 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L ADDIS ABABA 003803 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/FO, AF/E. LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA
WATCHERS.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL ET AF UNION
SUBJECT: AU KONARE'S POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGH ON ETHIOPIAN
INTERNAL POLITICAL CRISIS


Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A.I. VICKI HUDDLESTON. REASON: 1.4 (B)
AND (D)

C O N F I D E N T I A L ADDIS ABABA 003803

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/FO, AF/E. LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA
WATCHERS.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL ET AF UNION
SUBJECT: AU KONARE'S POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGH ON ETHIOPIAN
INTERNAL POLITICAL CRISIS


Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A.I. VICKI HUDDLESTON. REASON: 1.4 (B)
AND (D)


1. (C) Summary: African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson
Konare claims that Ethiopian PM Meles accepted his proposal
of dialoguing with opposition members without the
precondition of their first joining Parliament. Konare said
that AU Assembly Chairman Obasanjo told Meles that he was
willing to meet with jailed opposition leaders in Addis
Ababa. End summary.

--------------
AU BREAKTHROUGH?
--------------


2. (C) During a November 8 meeting, Konare briefed Charge on
the outcome of his lengthy and "frank" November 3 discussions
with PM Meles (Note: Konare first met with Meles in his
office and then accompanied Meles on his flight to a
conference in Germany. End note). Konare told Charge that
Meles was "very clear" in his acceptance of his proposal that
dialogue commence even without the precondition of opposition
members joining Parliament. (Comment: If accurate, Konare's
report represents a significant shift in the PM's position.
PM Meles has consistently told the troika (U.S., EC, UK) that
CUD officials must first take their seats in parliament
before any dialogue is possible. End Comment).


3. (C) In addition, Konare said, AU Assembly Chairman
Obasanjo also offered to meet with the opposition in Addis
Ababa.

--------------
STILL NO MOVEMENT ON TRIBUNAL
--------------


4. (C) Konare lamented that he and Meles did not see
eye-to-eye on the issue of tribunals for the jailed CUD
leaders. According to Konare, Meles insisted that Ethiopian
law is clear that the trials must go on. Konare agreed with
Meles that there can be no "rose revolution" in Ethiopia.
Konare said he told Meles that proceeding with the tribunals
will only lead to martyrdom of the CUD leaders and drive the
party into clandestinity. He urged Meles to delay trial of
the detainees.

--------------
WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
--------------


5. (C) Konare said he has met not only with PM Meles, but
also with Ethiopian civil society and women's groups. Konare
prevailed upon his Ethiopian interlocutors to resolve issues
peacefully. He opined that the CUD's calling for a seemingly
endless strike is a political mistake as Ethiopians live
day-to-day and cannot afford the consequences of a prolonged
strike. In addition, Konare told Meles he must get the
situation back to normal because the most affected area of
town (Mercato) is largely Muslim, and prolonged tension is a
"disaster in the making."


6. (C) Konare acknowledged that the CUD's hands may be
somewhat tied due to its dependence upon the Ethiopian
diaspora for financial backing. This must be changed, he
said, as the diaspora are not subject to the risks. Charge
pointed out that the UEDF lost their diaspora-provided
funding when they decided to go to parliament. Konare said
he told Meles that not funding civil society groups before
the election was a mistake. Civil society is part and parcel
of democracy, Konare noted, and these groups are now overly
dependent upon the diaspora. Konare said that he urged Meles
to not follow in the footsteps of former Ethiopian leader
Mengistu, whom history has condemned. Rather, he encouraged
Meles to build on the nationalism of Haile Selassie, who,
while feudal, at least created a sense of nationhood.


7. (C) The AU Chairperson told Charge that he wants the
government to wait on trying the opposition leaders, cease
night arrests, build civil society, and engage in dialogue
with the opposition. Konare said he believes the opposition
needs to understand the value of respecting rule of law,
engaging in dialogue, and avoiding confrontation. Charge
agreed with Konare that dialogue is key to resolving the
internal political crisis, and said she would call for an
appointment with the PM to follow up on Konare's good message.
HUDDLESTON