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Sunday, 28 May, 2000, 22:36 GMT 23:36 UK
Ethiopian president hails victories
Gidada Negaso
President Gidada Negaso: "We have demonstrated our readiness for a peaceful settlement"
Excerpts from speech by Ethiopian President Gidada Negaso at a rally celebrating the ninth anniversary of the overthrow of the Colonel Mengistu's military regime, published by pro-Ethiopian government Walta Information Centre web site on 28 May 2000.

Dear Peoples of Ethiopia, the Heroic Armed Forces of Ethiopia, Ladies and Gentlemen.

First and foremost, I would like to express, on behalf of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and that of my own, my profound joy at this event which affords us to celebrate the ninth anniversary of the 28 May Victory Day, commemorating the overthrow of the Dergue dictatorial regime, accompanied by yet another resplendent victory converging on this day.



We have demonstrated our readiness for a peaceful settlement by accepting the proposals of third party mediators

The warmongering regime in Asmara, that for a long time ... remained in aggressive occupation of our territories, was dealt a crushing blow by our valiant forces in their current operation and is being driven out.

This is the occasion to savour the triumph and I, once again, extend congratulations to our armed forces and peoples...

When the regime in Asmara unleashed its aggression against Ethiopia, our government pressed for a peaceful option that called for the unconditional withdrawal of the invading forces from Ethiopia territory...

Restraint

Accordingly, the government has exercised great restraint and patience in pursuit of the peaceful option. It has repeatedly appealed to countries who are on friendly terms with both Ethiopia and Eritrea and also regional and international organisations to prevail over the Eritrean leadership to come to their senses and give peace a chance.

We have demonstrated our readiness for a peaceful settlement by accepting the proposals of third party mediators that, more or less, might have led to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

On the other hand, the leaders in Asmara, who are used to the law of the jungle and believe in the efficacy of the gun and want to impose it on the sub-region, were not amenable to the civilised approaches of the peace mediators and remained intransigent.

'Double standards'

This arrogant behaviour of the Asmara leadership stems from their very nature and hypocritical make-up but it was encouraged by the policy of appeasement and double standards pursued by the international community.

These international quarters, instead of condemning and punishing the Eritrean regime that managed to pick fights and invade four neighbouring countries in its five-year existence as an independent state, tried arm twisting tactics to oblige acceptance of an unjust peace plan.



The unjust treatment meted out to Ethiopia by the government of the US and the UK, when it chose to exercise its legitimate right of self-defence... highly angered and saddened the Ethiopian peoples

Thus faced with Eritrean intransigence Ethiopia was forced to give up the much desired peace option and exercise its legitimate right of self-defence in repulsing the aggressor.

Our defence forces engaged in fierce combat with the invaders since 12 May 2000 and have routed and driven them out. Our occupied territories like Egela, Zalambessa and Aiga were liberated. Our valiant and indomitable defence forces have taught a great lesson to aggressors that aggression never pays.

The unjust treatment meted out to Ethiopia by the government of the United States and the United Kingdom, when it chose to exercise its legitimate right of self-defence after a long period of patience and marked restraint, highly angered and saddened the Ethiopian peoples.

Embargo

Under the leading role of these two countries in the UN Security Council, not only an arms embargo on both the aggressed and the aggressor parties was imposed, but also a further step that singled out Ethiopia for punishment was entertained.



Our struggle has shown that safeguarding one's sovereignty is not the exclusive right of the rich nations

This is yet another lesson in history for Ethiopia that it can only rely on its resources when confronted with aggression...

We believe that Africans and our neighbours have a lesson to learn from this wrong crisis management.

Ethiopia seizes this opportunity to underscore that there is no other sound alternative to good neighbourliness and peaceful co-existence and calls upon all neighbouring countries to stand united in promoting peace and development in our sub-region.

Dear peoples of Ethiopia, we are on the threshold of victoriously concluding our successful effort to restore our sovereignty by peaceful means and the use of force, and this is made possible by the determination and sacrifice of our defence forces as well as the commitment and support of our peoples.

Our struggle has shown that safeguarding one's sovereignty is not the exclusive right of the rich nations...

As we succeeded in humiliating the invader, let us rise in unison to make up for the lost times and to meet the development challenge and register an accelerated economic growth.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

26 May 00 | Africa
Ethiopians mark key victory
25 May 00 | Africa
Celebrations in Addis Ababa
25 May 00 | Africa
Peace at last?
26 May 00 | Africa
Eritrea's 'tactical retreat'
26 May 00 | Africa
Neighbours lament Horn war
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