Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his top government officials asserted in their recent remarks that there have been a switch in Ethiopia’s foreign policy towards Eritrea from the traditional defensive one to a policy that encounters the aggression of the Eritrean government and pursues a regime change.
While presenting his government’s eight month performance report and responding to questions raised by MPs last week, Prime Minister Meles explained the reason for the shift in the policy. Meles said since the anti-peace forces supported by the Eritrean government could not succeed in rural guerrilla fighting, they have devised a terrorism strategy that mainly focusing on cities.
Prior to the African Union Summit here in Addis, the Ethiopian government has also been accusing the Eritrean government for attempting to disrupt the summit by executing terrorist attacks in Addis Ababa. After the end of the summit, the Ethiopian television has shown the suspect terrorists and their captured weapons. In the mean time, Ethiopian oppositions have been claiming that the Eritrean government do not have the capacity to conduct such kind of act on Ethiopia and that it is just a mere propaganda from the side of the Ethiopian government.
However, in his parliamentary appearance at its 18 ordinary session, Prime Minister Meles told the house that suspects who have be captured by Ethiopian forces recently conformed they were planning to execute terrorist attacks in Addis, in places where a large number of civilians carry out their daily activities with the objective of “turning Addis in to another Baghdad”.
Therefore, Meles emphasized, the policy of the Eritrean government with regard to disrupting the peace and security of Ethiopia is still the same, but the tactic has changed to the act of terrorism is cities. “The strategy of the Ethiopian government to encounter this act has for long been limited to dismantling the anti-peace messengers and restrict the capacity of the Eritrean government from advancing a direct invasion, which was in short a defensive one” Meles said.
He also said now it is difficult to encounter the anti-peace act of the Eritrean government through the long held policy of detente. “We can not all the time defend Merkato as it is a place where hundred of thousands of people undertake their daily activities. Hence, if possible, the option would be to act upon the Eritrean government change its policy and if not, to support the Eritrean people in their struggle to change the regime” the premier underscored.
Accordingly, the Ethiopian government has set various diplomatic, political as well as economical strategies that intend to influence the Eritrean government change its policy.
In this regard Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, while presenting the mid-term performance report of the Ministry to Foreign, Defense and Security Affairs Standing Committee of the parliament last Wednesday said the government briefed the mutinous acts of the Eritrean government to European and Middle East countries ambassadors and diplomats. He also said the government has exerted effort for the effect of the sanction by the UN Security Council by clearly showing Eritrea’s government destabilizing acts in providing training and artillery support for terrorists.
In addition Meles said “We will follow diplomatic, political, economic as well as other options that are based on international laws to defend ourselves. The the new strategy strategy in this regard is enforcing a proportional counter response to the aggression of the Eritrean government.”
Earlier, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Brehane Geber-Kirstos in press conference said that the Eritrean government has been undertaking various activities to disturb the development efforts of Ethiopia. “The Eritrean government has been saying that it would turn Addis to another Baghdad. Our patience with Eritrea is limited when it comes to its efforts to undermine our peace and development to overcome poverty,” said Brehane during a press conference. –EthiopiaFirst