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Washington Update
NewsWashington Update

December 10, 2007

We contacted the state department about the recent statement in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa by

Secretary of State Condoleesa Rice that the Administration is not supporting HR 2003. The State

Department confirmed the Secretary's statement that the Administration not supporting the bill.

We also had a meeting with senior Senate Foreign Relations staff in the senate hearing room last week. We were asked by the staff what we thought of the Secretary's statement on HR 2003. We

reported to the Senate Foreign Relations that we are very disappointed and concerned about the Secretary Rice statement, especially during this time when Ethiopia is in a critical situation.

Rumors has it that war with Eritrea about to start, and the ongoing war with Somalia and Ogaden region of Ethiopia. We pointed out that Ethiopia is a very poor country and could not fight three

wars at the same time and that Ethiopia is a country with a very poor human rights record and could not feed the country by itself without donor countries. We asked the staffers how a regime that terrorizes its own people could it be ally in the war on terror?

The Foreign Relations staff said that we could not compromise human rights with other issue of alliance on the war on terror. According to the Staffers, the Senate Sub Committee under the leadership of Russell Feingold (D-WI) will have a hearing on Ethiopia and HR 2003 in the next

couple of weeks or the first of the year and will have the State Department and other witnesses to testify and answer questions. They also said that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants

really wants to get to the bottom of this important issue at hand and already sent fact-finding mission to Ethiopia recently. The Foreign Relations staff asked us to keep communicating with them and let them know about the latest development about Ethiopia, and they will let us know anything happens in regards to the hearing.

We were invited this weekend to address Ethiopians in Diaspora Forum including questions and answer session about The Ethiopia Democracy Accountability Act of 2007 (HR 2003 ).

The main objective of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy in Ethiopia (CUD) must be to get rid of the present communist style government peacefully and replace it with one that does not

divide us along ethnic lines; one that aspires to create a democratic Ethiopia governed by leaders selected in free and fair elections. To this end, we are working with the US Congress to provide international monitors of the political campaign, to end censorship and intimidation of the press and afford access to radio, television and newspapers to the opposition. That is why we should work hard to create a better Ethiopia with a free market economy in which citizens can freely travel to engage in commerce anywhere in the country.

A new freely elected government like Kinijit who has a majority vote in 2005 could dramatically increase Ethiopia’s agricultural production by making the arid lands bloom by use of an ecologically based irrigation system which would use the country’s own resources of Nile and

Awash Rivers, thereby feeding our own people and exporting needed agricultural products to a world where billions go hungry.

This government would encourage land reform based on the historic evidence that the most efficient agriculture is produced by those who, either singly or cooperatively, own their own land.
Ethiopia’s future depends on the sound education of our children.

The new government will no longer neglect our schools and will, with assistance from our friends in the more industrialized countries, install a curriculum that will ensure that they receive the education necessary to guarantee our future prosperity and cultural creativity.

Our children not only need a good education, but they, as well as all Ethiopians, need good health. We must more aggressively attack the ravages of HIV/AIDS, and finally eradicate the scourge of malaria.

We live in a dangerous age. We, as well as other democracies, must look to our homeland security, and protect our border and shore line. Meanwhile the regimes in Addis Ababa is misinforming Ethiopians about the HR 2003 how this "bad legislation" it is not helping Ethiopia's cause and compromises Ethiopian sovereignty, according to Ambassador to the U.S. Samuel Asseffa and the regime's college professors in Ethiopia.

They got their facts wrong. Here are the facts about The Ethiopia Democracy Accountability Act of 2007 known to us HR 2003:

Congressional Research Service summary of HR 2003:

Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 - States that is U.S. policy to: (1) support human rights, democracy, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, peacekeeping capacity building, and economic development in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; (2)
collaborate with Ethiopia in the Global War on Terror; (3) seek the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia; (4) foster stability, democracy, and economic development in the region; and (5) strengthen U.S.-Ethiopian relations.

Directs the Secretary of State to take specified actions to support human rights and democratization in Ethiopia.

Prohibits until the President makes specified congressional certifications: (1) security assistance to Ethiopia, with exceptions for peacekeeping or counter-terrorism assistance; and (2) U.S. entry of any Ethiopian official involved in giving orders to use lethal force against peaceful demonstrators or accused of gross human rights violations, and government security personnel involved in specified shootings of demonstrators and prisoners.

Directs the President to provide assistance for the rehabilitation of Ethiopian torture victims.

Expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. government should: (1) encourage the government of Ethiopia to enter into discussions with peaceful political groups to bring them into

full participation in Ethiopia's political and economic affairs; and (2) provide necessary assistance to help achieve such goal.

Directs the President to provide Ethiopia with: (1) resource policy assistance; and (2) health care assistance.


H.R. 2003 includes language condemning two incidents in which peaceful demonstrators were shot by government forces. It also includes a ban on travel to the United States by government officials and forces involved in the shooting of demonstrators.

To get the names and telephone numbers of the Senate, go to

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
When you call to urge support of the bill, explain why it is important to you. Use your own words.

You might want to mention your concern for human rights, democratic principles, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. You should also point out that the bill will assist the effort to make Ethiopia a free and prosperous country that can be a reliable ally of the United States.

Mesfin Mekonen
Kinijit International Council Foreign Relations


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