Friday, June 30, 2006

ION update: 06/30/06

CUDP leadership abroad
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1187 01/07/2006

The main opposition party, whose leaders are in prison in Addis Ababa, has designated an international executive drawn from among the Diaspora, largely dominated by the Amhara.

The executive of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP, opposition) in the Diaspora have chosen two members of their leadership, Major Yosef Yazew and Andargachew Tsige, to represent their party in the executive of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD), the new opposition coalition (ION 1182). Formerly a military man during the time of Emperor Haile Selassie, Major Yosef was one of the founder members of the EDU (monarchist) headed by the Ras Mengesha, but subsequently changed allegiance to the EPDA of the late Dereje Deresa, then supported by President Ronald Reagan’s administration. Afterwards he joined the Kitet group of the late Kifle Wodajo. He returned to Addis Ababa with Wodajo for a while when the current regime came to power in 1991. He subsequently returned to live in exile and joined the AAPO, then the AEUP led by Hailu Shawel, to whom he is still loyal.

For his part, Andargachew Tsige, based in London and whose sister is married to the Minister Tefera Walwa, has been a member of the ANDM (governing party) and the administration in Addis Ababa before defecting and going into exile in London. He drew closer to the CUDP via Berhanu Nega and returned to Addis Ababa for the elections in 2005. There he was arrested, beaten and imprisoned for a month and returned to London after his release.

The CUDP leadership in the Diaspora consists of an executive of three members consisting of Major Yosef (President), Moges Gebremariam (Vice President) and the former chairman of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce (AACC), Berhane Mewa (secretary general). Moges is a qualified surgeon specialising in kidneys who has lived in exile for decades. Settled in Baltimore, he initially joined the Medhin which he financed and then returned to Addis Ababa for a few weeks to attend the launch of the merger of the EDP and the Medhin, before leaving to become a member of the CUDP. Close to Hailu Shawel and considered a moderate, he has nevertheless gone along with the line of the CUDP leaders who did not accept to sit in Parliament in Addis Ababa.

Five other CUDP officials in the Diaspora have been designated. In addition Tsige who will be in charge of organisational matters, the magnate Solomon Bekele will handle the finances while Seyoum Bekele, a fervent Amhara and member of the AEUP, will be in charge of external relations. The research and investigation department goes to Getachew Wana, an ex-partisan of the former Ethiopian regime who now lives in Sweden and with his brother is a member of Colonel Goshu Wolde’s Medhin. Mamo Yihune, also an ex-partisan of the previous regime in Ethiopia and a member of the Medhin, now living in Germany, will be in charge of public relations of the CUDP’s international leadership.

Asmara’s Republican lobbyist
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1187 01/07/2006

The Eritrean authorities have taken on a new team of lobbyists in Washington, in order to defend their case with the United States government. It is the firm of lawyers Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC which is close to the Republican Party and is headed by Ed Rogers, a former advisor to George Bush senior. Recruited by the Eritrean embassy in Washington, this firm should provide the “guidance” and the “counsel” on Eritrean foreign policy with respect to the American government. The three members of this legal firm officially registered as lobbyists for the Eritrean embassy in the USA are Robert Blackwill, Dan Murphy and Andrew Parasiliti. Blackwill was an assistant advisor to Bush senior in 1989 – 1990, before going to teach for ten years at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was subsequently Ambassador to India (2001-2003) then Deputy Assistant National Security Adviser to Georges W. Bush and his special envoy to Iraq. Parasiliti was for three years foreign policy advisor to the Republican Senator for Nebraska Charles “Chuck” Hagel, a specialist on intelligence matters. Parasiliti was previously director of the John F Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative. He joined Barbour Griffith & Rogers last year.