Friday, December 30, 2005

Donors threaten aid to Ethiopian regime

Foreign donors are finally getting tough on the increasingly dictatorial regime of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia. Western countries are threatening to withhold $375 million following the regime's crackdown against the opposition and the free press. When the opposition protested allegedly rigged election results recently, the government arrested 80 top figures. Many have been charged with treason.

Western donors are considering shifting the money away from direct support to the regime toward UN programs and non-governmental organizations. This would hurt the government's efforts to help the poor, sniffed Ethiopia's finance minister.

Foreign aid makes up 10 percent of the annual budget of Ethiopia, which is one of the most aid-dependent countries in the world. Maybe donors are afraid that when the regime isn't shooting protesters and otherwise harassing political opponents, they might use aid money not for poverty reduction but toward another insane border war with Ethiopia.

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