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Ethiopia PM denies calling for Sudan president Bashir’s ouster

Posted on Friday, 16 September 2011 17:12

Ethiopia has dismissed claims in leaked US diplomatic cable quoting Prime Minister Meles Zenawi urging America to topple Sudanese President Al Bashir.

According to one of the cables leaked by the whistle blower website WikiLeaks recently, Meles met US diplomats and told them of the need “to remove the Bashir regime.”

But on Thursday the Ethiopian government’s communications affairs bureau said the PM had never called for the removal of the neighbouring country’s government from power.

“In fact, to the contrary the full WikiLeaks’ release shows that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has advised the Americans on the inappropriateness of “removing the Beshir regime”, and of his suggestion that the US layout “clear bench marks of actions expected of the GoS (government of Sudan) on both Darfur and South Sudan which would go a long way in addressing the “continued challenges,” the bureau said in a statement.

It added: “In its foreign policy statements, the government of Ethiopia has time and again declared its firm position that the responsibility of changing a sovereign government solely rests on the people of the respective countries, not on any other outside forces.”

The bureau said Ethiopia had “fundamental differences with the United States that sees regime change as an integral part of its foreign relations practices.”

However, government admitted Meles held discussions with the diplomats in July 2009 where he “stressed that the US cannot substitute itself for the people of Sudan.”

“A recent living illustration of Ethiopia’s commitment to this democratic stance is the Prime Minister’s repeated disagreement with those foreign powers who tried to prosecute President Al Beshir through the International Criminal Court,” the statement added.

Meles reportedly told the diplomats at the July 9 meeting that the Western paradigm of democracy cannot be “exported” to other countries.

“In the said Wikileaks (cables) the Prime Minster has pointed out that “the ‘old paradigm’ of the US is wrong and closes of the emergence of organic democracy in Africa,” the statement said.

“Ethiopia, therefore, clarifies its position that it never and nowhere supports any external pressure for regime change.”

Sudan is yet to react to the disclosures.

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