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Ethiopian Ambassador Resigns

December 15, 1986

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Ethiopian Ambassador Taye Telahun, a former air force chief and defense minister, resigned Monday and blasted the policies of his country’s Soviet- backed Marxist leaders.

″I cannot in good conscience any longer continue to condone and defend the policies of the government which had sent me here as its envoy,″ he said in announcing his resignation as Stockholm-based ambassador to the Nordic countries.

″Evidently I am not going back to my country,″ Taye, 54, said at a news conference. He said he would leave Sweden but refused to say where he intended to live.

Several ranking Ethiopian officials have resigned abroad this year. Goshu Woldu announced his resignation as foreign minister two months ago in New York. Ethiopia’s ambassador to France quit his post a month earlier.

″The hopes and aspirations we Ethiopians had at the wake of the revolution in 1974 have been dashed and frustrated, and a dark and ominous cloud is cast over the country,″ Taye said in a prepared statement.

He was appointed ambassador to the Nordic countries in January 1985. His career in the military and government began under the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie and continued after the 1974 military coup which brought the Marxist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam to power.

Taye was an air force pilot officer from 1952-68, navy chief of staff from 1968-74, commander of the air force from 1974-77, minister of defense from 1977-79 and minister of interior from 1979-84.

Taye said he had never been a member of the ruling party although he had hoped the Marxist revolution would improve the lives of the East African country’s 30 million people.

But the policies of the ruling party ″are precipitating wars and strifes instead of peace,″ he claimed, a reference to the civil war between the government and separatist guerillas in the province of Eritrea.

He also spoke of ″hardship, deprivation, humiliation and exile″ experienced by Ethiopians struck by famine.

″Millions are still threatened by starvation, and the danger of famine is by no means over,″ he said.

Taye, who said he was a Christian, also criticized what he described as the Ethiopian rulers’ ″political intolerance″ and ″contemptuous disregard″ for religious convictions and values.

″Because of the intolerable social and political situation, many educated Ethiopians who could otherwise have been an asset to the nation have left and stayed away from the country,″ he said.

Taye appealed to the Soviet Union to reconsider its support for the Addis Ababa government.

″The Ethiopian people today cannot help but identify the Soviet Union with their misery, with their sufferings, repression and with all their conceivable social, economic, and political ills,″ he said.

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