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A Statement by the Crown Council of Ethiopia Regarding the “Haile Selassie International Development Foundation”

The Crown Council of Ethiopia has been informed that the “Haile Selassie International Development Foundation”, that also refers to itself as the “Haile Selassie I Foundation”, (which confuses it with the Foundation established by the Crown Council, and also with the Haile Selassie I Memorial Foundation, that is well known in Ethiopia), has organized an event on June 27th, 2006, at Debre Haile Kedus Gebriel Cathedral. The Guest Speakers at the gathering include Ms Ana Gomes, Member of the European Parliament; US Congressman, Mr. Christopher Smith; and Mr. Obang Metho of the Anuak Justice Council. The co-sponsors of the event are the Gambella Development Agency, and Anuak Justice Council.

In 2004, the Crown Council had publicly announced that it had changed direction to become a non political organ of the Ethiopian Crown, and will henceforth focus on humanitarian, development, and historical preservation. Thus, the Council does not sponsor or participate in any political forum. The same applies to the Haile Selassie I Memorial Foundation of which I am also a member. Therefore, the Haile Selassie International Development Foundation should be recognized as a separate entity, without confusion with the work of either the Crown Council, or that of the Memorial Foundation.

With all due respect to the Administrators of the Debre Haile Kedus Gebriel Cathedral, where the event will be held, to the co-sponsors the Anuak Justice Council and the Gambella Development Agency, as well as to all the guest speakers, it is my duty as the Chairman of the Ethiopian Crown Council to inform them, and the public at large, that, the Crown Council, in 2004, had publicly disassociated itself from the Haile Selassie International Development Foundation. The Council was forced to take this action because it does not agree with their method of work which is designed to confuse them with already existing well established organizations, and also because we feel that their objectives do not accurately reflect the legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie I. Our Statement of disassociation could be found on the Crown Council website. The Haile Selassie I Memorial Foundation has also disassociated itself from the work of the Haile Selassie I International Development Foundation, and has posted a Statement to this effect on its website.

Thus, it must be recognized that Mr. Bekele Molla, President of the Haile Selassie International Development Foundation, Ms. Sosinna Tesfa, the General Secretary, and their supporters, have no association with either the Crown Council of Ethiopia, or with the Haile Selassie I Memorial Foundation.

Members of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, like all Ethiopians, have been, and will continue to be deeply concerned with developments in our country that followed the May 2005 elections. In this regard, the Crown Council had issued two Statements – the first on June 10th, 2005, and the second on November 11th 2005. These Statements were publicly announced, and widely circulated by both the Ethiopian, and the International Media. As the unity, equality, and peaceful development of our country is our sincere desire, similar public Statements of concern will be issued by the Crown Council, if and when needed. May Peace based on Equality and Justice descend upon Ethiopia.