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Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) Welcomed At A Summit Held in Cape Town

African Liberal Network members

Representatives of African Liberal Network members

EDP delegation led by Deputy President of the Ethiopian Democratic Party, Mrs Sophia Deressa, has been welcomed and confirmed as a member of the African Liberal Network, which is affiliated to Liberal International, in a summit held in Cape Town, South Africa. The Cape Town Assembly ended on the 15 of November 2010 and EDP leadership received the formal acceptance letter this week.

Mrs Sophia Deressa, stated she was humbled by the unanimous vote and the warm welcome EDP received from African Liberal Network members and its president Dr Mamadou Lamina Ba who is also a cabinet Minster in the Senegalese government, as the International and Humanitarian affairs minister.

Mrs Sophia also thanked the host of the assembly, primer Helen Zille, of Western Cape Province, leader of the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition to the ANC in the South African parliament.

Mrs Sophia highlighted the effort members of Mrs Zille party, Democratic Alliance, showed to facilitate her delegates visit to South Africa, including travel and visa arrangement. Mrs Sophia attended a reception at the official residence of Primer Zille. Mrs Sophia had also an opportunity to have a visit to the South African Parliament guided by senior member of Democratic alliance MP .

Following the admission of EDP, President Lamina Ba, discussed the historical role played by Ethiopia in African affairs and welcomed EDP to the liberal democratic African family.

EDP’s unrivalled achievement in Cape Town, has been in the making for a number of years; in fact the process was initiated prior to the controversial 2005 election.

Along with a number of other  goals  EDP set itself, [in order to build the foundations of a civil society in Ethiopia, based on  Individual Liberty, rule of law, free market and democracy] the aftermath of the 2005 election delayed, what has now been achieved in Cape Town. This membership gives EDP and liberal democratic forces in Ethiopia a unique platform as well as networking avenue to pursue liberty and democracy in Ethiopia.

Over the last few years EDP had focused on what it sees as a priority at the home front; however, it is now poised to engage with the international community and Ethiopians in the Diaspora.

EDP, as member of African Liberal Network, will be able to advocate through diplomacy, issues related to individual liberty and democracy in Ethiopia. EDP will share its experience with other member parties, within the Africa liberal family and Liberal International; EDP has accumulated valuable experience while campaigning in a unipolar or unequal political environment, exemplified by the 99.6% EPRDF “win” of the May 2010 election. At the same time EDP hopes to have access to member parties experience and expertise from both the African and International Liberal organisation. EDP sees training courses for its leadership and young members with potential leadership role as the key area where  ALN and Liberal International can play practical role.

The formal signed letter of acceptance of EDP into the African Liberal Network was received on 22nd of November 2010 from African Network Offices in London. Ironically the letter comes only a day after EDP president Ato Ledetu Ayalew had a successful and eventful meeting with Ethiopians in London.

Ato Ledetu’s meeting and receipt of ALN membership letter witnessed this week in London crystallise the strategic correct path taken by EDP for the establishment of Liberty and Democracy through peaceful mobilisation of Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora.

This remarkable achievement, bourne of a prolonged effort, which gives all Ethiopians a new avenue to pursue their campaign for Liberty and democracy. EDP’s achievement stands in clear contrast to some in the opposition who this week attempted to violently interrupt a peaceful meeting of Ethiopians in an Ethiopian community Hall, in London.

The events in London amply demonstrate how few individuals with extreme views can hijack and frustrate the peaceful struggle for liberty. While their action of holding a peaceful meeting hostage for 20 minutes with thuggery and throwing of chairs did not achieve a single advantage for Ethiopians yearning for Liberty and democracy; EDP on the other hand has now set up a diplomatic and a lobbying channel with direct access to members of the British Parliament and the European Union office. EDP believes football mob style hooliganism at the centre of our respected Ethiopian community hall and in a place like London, where the rule of law is esteemed  is a sign to all Ethiopians that some in the so called opposition will behave in a  similar way if they ever get any authority in Ethiopia.

With the letter of acceptance into the Liberal family, Ato Lidetue Aylew, president of EDP, was sent an invitation for a meeting with senior African Liberal Network and Liberal International officials.