1 January 2013

Ethiopia: Prime Minister Hailemariam Says No Change of Policy On Eritrea

Prime Minister Hailemariam today (January 1st, 2013) responded to questions raised by MPs' in a special Parliamentary question and answer session.

Questions covered a wide variety of subjects including the performance of the Growth and Transformation Plan, transport problems in Addis Ababa, human trafficking challenges, the recent restructuring of the executive and questions on foreign policy.

MPs asked whether the Prime Minister's recent statement to Al Jezeera that he was willing to negotiate with the Eritrean government even in Asmara was indicative of any change of policy. Prime Minister Hailemariam in his reply made it clear that Ethiopia's policy towards Eritrea has not changed over the past eight years since it issued its Five Point Peace Plan in November 2004, accepting in principle the Eritrean Ethiopian Boundary Commission's Decision.

The Prime Minister said that despite the continuing belligerent behavior of the regime in Asmara and its destabilizing activities, Ethiopia's position had always been for peace. Equally, of course, it was always necessary to defend the nation when necessary. He added that his reference that he was ready to travel to Asmara underlined his complete commitment for peace. On Somalia, the Prime Minister said, his government would continue working with the new government of Somalia to help consolidate peace across large parts of Somalia.

The Prime Minister also outlined the peace efforts made by the government of Ethiopia, including his own recent visits to Khartoum and Juba, to bring the two Sudan's to the negotiating table on the remaining post independence issues. He noted that "the two sides have now agreed to hold discussion on the implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreements which cover 90% of the issues and negotiate on the remaining issues ".

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