Tuesday, February 13, 2007


During meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, Senator pushes for Special Envoy to Somalia and submits a letter outlining human rights abuses against the Oromo refugees.

February 13th, 2007 - Washington, D.C.

Continuing his push toward establishing a comprehensive U.S. strategy to bring peace and stability to Somalia, Senator Norm Coleman yesterday met with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer to discuss U.S. diplomatic efforts concerning Somalia. Senator Coleman, following up on his comments during hearings last week with Secretary Rice and Assistant Secretary Frazer, pressed for the appointment of a Special Envoy to Somalia. He also raised alleged human rights abuses suffered by the Oromo refugee population in Somalia at the hands of the Ethiopian military. During the meeting, Senator Coleman presented to Secretary Frazer a letter outlining his concerns over the allegations of abuse that were brought to the Senator’s attention by the Oromo American Citizen Council of Minnesota. The Senator also extended an invitation to Assistant Secretary Frazer to travel to Minnesota to engage the Somali diaspora community in the national reconciliation process that is underway in Somalia.

“With Minnesota being home to the largest community of Somalis in America, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to be an advocate for stability in Somalia,” said Coleman. “It is a region of the world that has gone largely ignored for many years, and yet we have vital national security interests at stake in the country. Minnesota is also the home to a substantial Oromo community, many of whom left Ethiopia due to persecution and who have long raised their human rights concerns with me. It was disheartening to hear that the abuse faced by the Oromo in Ethiopia now exists in Somalia too, with the presence of the Ethiopian military. I am concerned about allegations of abuses like arbitrary detention and harassment of Oromo refugees. I expressed my view to the Assistant Secretary that it is up to the United States and other countries to use our influence to ensure that human rights are respected by the Ethiopian military.

”Senator Coleman last week joined Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) in introducing legislation that would require a comprehensive U.S. strategy to aid the war-torn country, including increased diplomatic engagement as well as financial assistance. The legislation also includes a provision continuously advocated by Senator Coleman establishing a Special Envoy for Somalia to coordinate U.S. diplomacy as well as elevate the importance of the issue. Coleman and Feingold have previously worked on Somalia legislation that was attached to last year’s Department of Defense Authorization bill.

“As political strife and lack of economic opportunity continue to exacerbate the instability in Somalia, we need to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the struggling country that could otherwise become a haven for terrorists,” said Coleman. “One important piece of this strategy is to have a U.S. diplomatic presence on the ground in Somalia. The U.N. and many of our international partners have had key diplomats visit Somalia, but the U.S. has yet to do so. I think it will be difficult for the U.S. to play a lead role in helping stabilize Somalia if we are unable to send diplomats there. Additionally, in order to make any diplomatic presence effective we will need a Special Envoy to coordinate our policy.

”Coleman had previously pressed for the appointment of a Special Envoy for Somalia last week during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with witnesses that included Frazer and USAID Assistant Administrator Michael Hess. He reiterated his calls for a Special Envoy at a hearing on the Foreign Affairs budget with Secretary Rice last Thursday. At the hearings, Coleman raised long-standing concerns about U.S. diplomatic capacity to formulate and carry out policy toward Somalia, as well as the level of humanitarian assistance to that country.


At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Amercia the Champion of democracy?

I don't understand why we(Oromo) depend on what Amercia and others say or do. America shift their strategies best suited their interest, that is why America support the worst dictator in world of our time(in the name of ally againist terrorist), at cost of Oromo's lives. History and thier action reveal that, what they care is their selfish-centered few class supermacy ambition. Most ex-colonial-so caled modern democrats still ill-treat indigenous people & visible minorties as second class citizens. Therefore Oromos's must also shift their strategies to achieve their own goals. No time on earth, Oromo's shall be a second class citizen -on thier own land anymore and anywhere. I want thank these Oromo's and others who sacrificed and sacrificing thier lives, for respect for humanity, equality, and freedom of Oromo's and mankind.
May God of freedom bless their lives.
El'maa oromo

At 1:47 AM, Anonymous OLF/ABO said...

Thank you El'maa Oromo

God bless you too.


Post a Comment

<< Home