Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 17:11 UK

Ethiopia severs ties with Qatar

Ethiopian troops
The rebellion in the Ogaden is a sensitive issue for Ethiopia

Ethiopia's government has announced it is breaking off relations with Qatar.

The Foreign Ministry said it was because of "Qatar's attempts to destabilise the sub-region and its hostility towards Ethiopia itself".

Ethiopia is thought to be angry at recent coverage from Al-Jazeera, based in Doha, and financial support given to Eritrea, accused of backing rebels.

Although the two countries have diplomatic relations, neither has an embassy in the other's capital.

The Foreign Ministry statement accuses Qatar of being blinded by arrogance and remaining deaf to all Ethiopia's attempts to persuade it to change its ways.

According to the BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa, Foreign Ministry sources say that the Ethiopian government believes Qatar is giving substantial sums of money - amounting to something like $150,000 a month - to Eritrea, which then go on to fund insurgents in Ethiopia's Somali region, the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

A reference in the statement to the output of Qatar's media outlets points the finger at the international television channel Al-Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, she says.

Al-Jazeera recently broadcast a series of reports from the Ogaden, to which the Ethiopian government took great exception, describing them as propaganda films for a terrorist organisation.

Q&A: Ethiopia's ONLF rebels
25 Apr 07 |  Africa

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