Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin accused Norway of supporting “terrorist groups” based in Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. “Norway tries to build a peace-keeping image, but cannot do so at the expense of the peace on the Horn of Africa,” Mesfin told the Norwegian daily Aftenposten. “The soldiers in Eritrea are financed in full by Norway. By supporting those who destroy peace processes in our neighboring countries, Norway undermines the Ethiopian government’s peace work.” Parliamentary Secretary Raymond Johansen in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry denied the Ethiopian Minister’s allegations. “Nothing he says is correct,” Johansen said.
Mesfin’s statements punctuate the ongoing diplomatic crisis between the two governments. In late August, Ethiopian authorities expelled six Norwegian diplomats from the country. Two days later, Norway announced it would cut Ethiopian aid. The six Norwegian diplomats will leave Ethiopia this week, leaving only three Norwegian diplomats left in the African country. (Aftenposten, Sept. 12)