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Text of statement issued by Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (EMFA) on 8 December; published in English by EMFA website on 8 December; subheadings as published
The government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia must again express its dismay that Human Rights Watch [HRW] has issued another deeply flawed report on Somalia ("So much to fear" - War crimes and the devastation of Somalia).
This is not just because it is published after the decision of Ethiopia to withdraw its troops from Somalia, a fact HRW completely ignores; nor just because it has been published so soon after Ethiopia made public a devastating and critical investigation of a HRW report on Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. This exposed extensive flaws in HRW's methodology and conclusions. It is, therefore, extremely disappointing to find that this report has continued an extensive use of journalistic reports, drawn virtually all of its evidence from hearsay and second-hand information gathered outside Somalia and from the propaganda of terrorist groups, and involves nothing more first-hand than a few telephone conversations with anonymous informants.
Misrepresentation on events in Somalia
The government of Ethiopia is deeply saddened that the people of Somalia have had to endure such interminable conflicts for so long. Ethiopia shares in the grief of the Somali people over this unacceptable situation. This is not just because Ethiopia has a legitimate security interest in what has been happening in Somalia. Ethiopia deplores the lack of interest by the international community in what has been happening in there. Ethiopia has persistently tried to facilitate peaceful resolution of the problems among the people of Somalia, not least by sponsoring a whole series of peace conferences since 1992. In such effort, Ethiopia has worked with all members of IGAD [Inter-Governmental Authority on Development] in the convening of the peace and reconciliation conference held in Kenya, leading to the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government [TFG] of Somalia. It was natural for Ethiopia to lend whatever assistance it could when called upon by the government of Somalia to assist it to resist attacks against Transitional Federal Institutions. Ethiopia's involvement in Somalia in support of the TFG as an internationally recognized government of Somalia has been supported by Africa and the African Union as opening a window of opportunity for peace in the country.
However, as Foreign Minister Seyoum noted in his recent letter to the secretary-general of the UN and to the chairperson of the AU Commission, Ethiopia had expected that it would be able to withdraw in a matter of weeks after Ethiopian forces had entered Somalia in December 2006. It had anticipated that either an AMISOM [AU mission in Somalia] force might be fully deployed to replace it, or an international stabilization or peacekeeping force would be deployed. Two years later, neither has happened, except an AMISOM deployment of Ugandan and Burundi contingents of 3,450 troops, nor …