January 18, 2006
Mr Benn goes to Addis again
Just about half an hour ago, Hilary Benn, the UK's development minister, sat down in the British Embassy in Addis Ababa in front of a group of journalists and described the post election violence and arrests as a "breach of trust".
The direct budget support that the UK used to give to Ethiopia had been a sign of trust in the country, he said. That trust had been breached so, he went on to confirm, the UK was withdrawing direct budget support and re-directing its aid through leading NGOs instead.
He said he had met with Meles Zenawi and brought up, among other things, the recent student protests, the arrest of an ActionAid worker, the arrests of opposition leaders and his worries about the judiciary.
I will try and get a transcript of the press conference. But in the meantime, here is how AP reported on a statement that Mr Benn put out before the press conference:
Britain cuts off aid to Ethiopian government
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- Britain cut all of its aid to Ethiopia's government on Wednesday and plans to redirect the 73 million euro ($88 million U.S.) to humanitarian agencies working in the Horn of Africa nation.
Hillary Benn, Britain's international development secretary, said his government was "seriously concerned" by the unrest sparked by disputed elections last year that returned the ruling party to power and led to 88 protesters being killed by security forces. Benn met with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi before the announcement.
The press release from the UK's Department For International Development should be up here any minute.
Posted by aheavens at January 18, 2006 8:00 PM