September 12, 2007

Ethiopia: Norway supports ‘terrorists’ in Africa

The Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin accuses Norway of supporting "terrorist groups" in Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. "False allegations," replies Norwegian Parliamentary Secretary Raymond Johansen.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin lashes out against Norwegian peace-keeping.


Parliamentary Secretary Raymond Johansen says the allegations are unwarranted.


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"Norway tries to build a peace-keeping image, but cannot do so at the expense of the peace on the Horn of Africa," said the Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin in an exclusive interview with newspaper Aftenposten.

His statements mark the ongoing diplomatic crisis between the two countries. In late August, Ethiopian authorities expelled six Norwegian diplomats from the country. Two days later, Norway announced it would cut Ethiopian aid.

In a blow to Norway’s peace-keeping ambitions, Mesfin alleged in the Aftenposten interview that Norwegian authorities support "terrorist groups" in Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, destabilising peace on the Horn of Africa.

"The soldiers in Eritrea are financed in full by Norway. By supporting those who destroy peace processes in our neighbouring countries, Norway undermines the Ethiopian government’s peace work," Mesfin claimed.

He added that Norwegian money sponsors weapons for terrorist groups in Somalia and Sudan, and that Norwegian authorities operate out of sight of local governments.

Parliamentary Secretary Raymond Johansen in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry denied the Ethiopian Minister’s allegations. "Nothing he says is correct," Johansen said.

Johansen said that the Norwegian authorities had always been open and honest about their intentions, and that they wanted nothing but peace and reconciliation on the Horn of Africa.

The six Norwegian diplomats will leave Ethiopia on Saturday, leaving only three Norwegian diplomats left in the African country.

Aftenposten English Web Desk
Kristin Solberg
Aftenposten's reporter
Anbjørg Bakken

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