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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09ADDISABABA86 2009-01-14 14:25:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

FORMER PRIME MINISTER TAMRAT LAYNE MEETS AMBASSADOR

Tags:   PGOV PHUM ET 
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ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 141425Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3381
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1846
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 3287
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L ADDIS ABABA 000086 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ET
SUBJECT: FORMER PRIME MINISTER TAMRAT LAYNE MEETS AMBASSADOR

Classified By: Ambassador Donald Yamamoto. Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (C) On January 5, the Ambassador met former Prime Minister
Tamrat Layne, who spent 12 years in prison before his release
in late December, 2008. Tamrat was a stalwart of the
Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and the ruling
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)
before he fell out of favor. He told the Ambassador that
while in prison he had become a Christian and that now he is
a "peaceful man, where once (he) did violence and armed
struggle." Tamrat said he was treated well in prison due to
his stature as a former prime minister and because many of
the guards knew him favorably for his armed struggle against
the former Dirgue regime.



2. (C) Tamarat's wife and two children are in Denver. He had
limited contact with his family while in prison and plans to
travel to the United States in late January to visit them and
to receive a medical check-up, although he said he is not
aware of any pending health concerns. On his return to
Ethiopia, Tamrat said he plans to "do things for the
Ethiopian people." Specifically, Tamrat described his "two
responsibilities" going forward as serving God through
ministry (he noted that he intends to pursue some form of
education toward that end) and playing some to-be-defined
role as mediator in Ethiopia. Tamrat insists that he wants
to bring "love" into Ethiopian politics and that he holds no
grudges against the regime that jailed him. He added that he
remains friendly with senior members of the TPLF as well as
opposition parties and wants to find a mechanism to
facilitate inter-party dialogue.



3. (C) Tamarat said that since his release he has met with
several members of the TPLF politburo who told him they are
tired of governing and have personal health problems but that
they see no alternative to retaining political power because
they have no trust that opposition parties will not dismantle
the constitution and the Ethiopian state. When asked if
Ethiopia can turn to younger generations for political
reconciliation, Tamrat noted that the TPLF is training young
people to take the reins down the road, but added that he did
not know of any similar efforts outside the parliament. TPLF
training has an ideological component, Tamrat added.



4. (C) In sepcon with A/PolCouns, Tamrat said that since his
release many people from all sides of the political spectrum
have asked him to re-involve himself in Ethiopian politics
and play an active role in national reconciliation. The
Ambassador stressed to Tamrat that the Embassy would support
him if he chose to play a mediating role between the
government and the opposition or between other elements in
Ethiopia. Tamrat remarked that he wants to assist in the
reconciliation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church based in America, because he signed
the order that removed the original patriarch and bifurcated
the church. Pastor Daniel Gebreselassie, of Prison
Fellowship Ethiopia, who joined Tamrat for the January 5
meeting, told the Ambassador that there may be an opening for
reconciliation of the two churches, which he will explore
over the next few months.
YAMAMOTO