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Prof. Berhanu Nega: Eritrea is feeding its people while Ethiopia is suffering from famine

U.S. Professor Berhanu Nega, Chairman of the largest rebel group in East Africa, the United Movement for the Salvation of Ethiopia through Democracy (UMSED).


Chairman of the Patriotic Ginbot 7 Movement for Unity and Democracy, Prof. Berhanu Nega said that having seen for himself the enthusiasm of the young Ethiopian fighters based in Eritrea and the worsening political and economic crisis in Ethiopia that the regime could not hide anymore, he was very optimistic that the suffering of Ethiopians would come to an end very soon.

Prof. Berhanu, who had given his testimony at the European Parliament last week and held meetings with a number of members of the Parliament in Brussels, however cautioned that Ethiopians should not wait and expect that foreign powers would extricate them from the quagmire they are in.

In an exclusive interview he gave to ESAT's Fasil Yenealem, Prof. Berhanu said the regime in Addis Ababa cannot and will not stop the quest for democratic changes in Ethiopia as has been evidenced by the vigilant and unilateral actions taken by farmers in some pockets of the countryside. "The government cannot stop this momentum. The regime is in constant conflict that it cannot hide anymore," the Professor said.

Prof. Berhanu, who quit his job at his alma mater, Bucknell University, and went to Eritrea in July to lead his Patriotic Ginbot 7, an armed resistance group based in that country, said he was flabbergasted and reinvigorated by the creativity, zeal and the fighting spirit of the young Ethiopians who are in the frontline to give their lives for the freedom of other Ethiopians.

He said the Eritrean government, unlike what the naysayers believe, has been extremely helpful to his movement. He said everyone he talked to in Eritrea, from the top officials to ordinary citizens, want to see a democratic Ethiopia and a country that had reconciled with itself.

Speaking about the famine in Ethiopia, the Professor said Eritrea is a country with similar climate to that of Ethiopia but due to sound policies and early warning and preparation there is no famine in Eritrea. "There is no talk of famine in Eritrea and there is no hike in food prices." Prof. Berhanu said unlike Ethiopia, the Eritrean government receives no foreign aid, but it had purchased enough food early to feed its people for the rest of the year. He argued that "only in countries with bad government policies could drought results in famine."

He also called on all democratic forces to work together if they wish to bring democratic changes in the country. He said his Movement would work with any party as long as they believe in one Ethiopia and their goal is to transform Ethiopia to a democratic country.
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