Hailemariam Says Extremism is Expanding in Ethiopia With Support From Foreign Forces


On returning from the 68th General Assembly of the United Nations, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn held a press conference at his office, on Friday Oct 4, 2013.

At the briefing, his second since assuming power, Hailemariam said that extremism is expanding in Ethiopia with support from foreign forces, in the form of financial rewards and other supplements.

According to the PM, many follow this path as they believe it is related to religion “For me, combating religious radicalism and fundamentalism is a political struggle,” Hailemariam told journalists.

The PM firmly stated that there is a red line drawn by the government, and those who want to cross the line will be “pinched”.

“I would like to inform the Ethiopian people that it is in the public’s interest to detach themselves from extremists,” he said.
Regarding the Westgate Mall terrorist siege in Nairobi, Kenya, the PM said that it felt like an attack on Ethiopia.

“No country in the world can be completely free from terrorist attacks,” Hailemariam said. “We can’t fight it alone. We have to cooperate with our regional allies, since all of us face a similar threat.”

Hailemariam said that it is an international issue and cooperation is essential.
According to the PM, the best way to fight terrorism is by involving the public, allied to strong intelligence and security.

Responding to questions concerning opposition political parties, he said the issues raised have been around for years, and they can have their say in the form of peaceful demonstrations.

“This by itself is a manifestation of democracy, and the question has already been addressed by the government,” Hailemariam said. “However, the question that is being raised by the opposition is not theirs but of outside forces, so if similar questions continue then we will ban any form of protests organized by the opposition.”

Hailemariam rejected rumors regarding a split within the ruling coalition, dismissing them as “wishful thinking”.