World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Political developments in Ethiopia

06 October 2005

Letter to Dr Beyene Petros, President of the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces of
Ethiopia, 6 October, 2005

Dear Dr Beyene,

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has monitored political developments
in Ethiopia closely, particularly in the post-election period. We recently sent a
staff member of the WCC to get first-hand information on the social, economic
and political situation in the country.

We were concerned by the decision of the opposition to organize demonstrations,
which later on changed to "stay at home". Given the tense environment we feared
the consequences of such an action. However, we refrained from questioning the
decision since you are the best judge, being aware of all the political implications.

We are, therefore, extremely pleased that the United Ethiopian Democratic
Forces (UEDF) and the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP) have
agreed to postpone the "stay at home" demonstrations and to resolve their differences
with the ruling party through dialogue. In this regard please be assured that
the World Council of Churches will be available to strengthen this initiative should
this be deemed desirable by all the parties concerned. The WCC strongly believes
that differences and disagreements, including those of a political nature, should
be resolved through negotiations. We are fully supportive of this wise decision.

Many political commentators who have followed this impasse have called it a
"breakthrough". And indeed it is. Ethiopians are known for their wisdom and this
is yet another good example of it. The three parties by their action to commit
themselves to dialogue have distinguished themselves as peacemakers.

The World Council of Churches encourages you to continue the negotiations
and make the impossible possible. With appreciation and understanding of each
other's position and the larger good of the people in view, we are certain this matter
can be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

The World Council of Churches stands with all of you as you embark on this
noble route and prays for your success.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary