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Ethiopia's new PM promises to continue reforms "at any cost"

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The Ethiopian Prime Minister has pledged at his first press conference since taking power to "continue at any cost" with dramatic reforms and soon told the long-standing governing coalition to prepare for a "free and fair election Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also said that the World Bank "soon" wants to provide direct budget support of $ 1 billion, a sign of confidence after years of unrest in Africa's second-largest nation nation. This help was discontinued after the controversial elections of 2005.

"My dream is that doubts about the ballot disappear," Abiy said, saying that the vote would not be delayed and promised a peaceful transfer of power if he lost [19659008] 42-year-old Abiy took office in April The country shocked and shocked the country with a wave of reforms, including the restoration of diplomatic relations with neighboring Eritrea after two decades, the commitment of state-owned companies to make outside investments and release thousands of prisoners. 19659009] The reforms were praised by the international community and attracted investors interested in one of Africa's fastest-growing economies.

However, recent ethnic riots in various parts of Ethiopia have dampened initial cheering and a major challenge for new leaders

"There are groups working together to cause chaos in different parts of the country," said Abiy reporters. "They trigger the feelings of the people for this purpose."

According to the United Nations, around 2.8 million people have been displaced by the riots. "But this did not happen because of the reforms," ​​said the prime minister.

He said the turmoil in the eastern Somali region had calmed down, but had taken action against former officials, including former regional president Abdi Mohammed Omar. Who is suspected of orchestrating the chaos earlier this month, which led to the destruction of government offices, looting of businesses and church fires?

After Internet cuts in the region after the riots were asked, an unpopular tactic that was widely used by the previous government Abyy appealed for understanding and said it could have saved lives.

"But restricting access to information and cutting the Internet is not the way forward," he added, urging youth to act responsibly. In recent months, a number of formerly exiled opposition activists and members of parliament have been involved Groups welcomed the return to Ethiopia and invited them to participate in the political conversation.

But on Saturday he drew the line The former military dictator Col. Mengistu Hailemariam, who overthrew the last Ethiopian emperor Haileselassie in 1974, was eventually sentenced to life-long leader of a "Red Terror" that killed tens of thousands of people. He fled in 1991, when rebels, now the governing coalition, moved to the capital.

Some Ethiopians have asked Abiy to offer Mengistu amnesty after a rare photo of him in exile in Zimbabwe was viralized earlier this month.

"The Constitution of Ethiopia clearly states that the crimes of the" Red Terror "can not fall under an amnesty law," said Abiy. "So Col. Mengistu will not … return home, but if the law permits in the future, that may change."


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