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Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Reading East (Mr. Wilson) of 11 January 2006, Official Report, column 671W, on Ethiopia, what steps the UK Government have taken to secure the release of opposition political leaders, members of Parliament and journalists who were arrested after the November 2005 riots in Addis Ababa; and if she will make a statement. (97167)

We continue to make representations to the Government of Ethiopia regarding all those, including Civil Society representatives, detained in connection with the political disturbances in 2005. Officials from our embassy in Addis Ababa made representations to the Ministry of Justice about the on-going trial of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leadership on 12 July 2006 and our ambassador in Addis Ababa has raised it with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on several occasions, most recently on 14 October with other EU Heads of Mission. He has also visited two representatives of Civil Society detained in connection with the disturbances.

We financed an EU international observer to monitor the trial of the CUD leadership for the first three months. Monitoring continues to be financed by the EU.