November 23, 2009

Britain and US urge probe on Ethiopian aid abuse

NATION Correspondent in Addis Ababa

The US and Britain have expressed concern over the alleged politicisation of humanitarian aid in Ethiopia ahead of elections and called for immediate investigation.

A week ago, Ethiopia’s main opposition group, the Forum for Democratic Dialogue accused the government of using its access to foreign-funded, anti-poverty programmes to gain support for the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.

Ethiopia scheduled a general election for May 2010.

“We are very much concerned about it,” Mr Karl Wycoff, United Sates deputy assistant secretary of state, told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Aware of the reports

“We are aware of the reports and we take such reports very, very seriously.”

Mr Wycoff said the US will increase inspections of food aid deliveries to Ethiopians.

At the same time, Britain’s state minister for development, Mr Gareth Thomas who spent three days in Ethiopia last week said Ethiopia should investigate the allegation. “These allegations should be investigated thoroughly.” he told reporters in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian authorities denied the allegation. Mr Mitiku Kassa Minister for disaster and emergency told the Nation his government was trying to investigate the issue however the allegation is ‘baseless’. “We are always doing our humanitarian work regardless of any discrimination” Mr Mitiku said.

Source: Daily Nation

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