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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  June 14, 2018 4:30am-5:01am BST

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for urgent talks on yemen after the saudi—led coalition attacked the rebel held port of hodeidah, through which almost all vital aid supplies enter the country. the un envoy for yemen says he's continuing negotiations to try to keep the port open. there are signs of concern among american allies in asia after president trump's meeting with the leader of north korea. but at a joint press conference in seoul, japan's foreign minister said he had been assured that any pause in military exercises would depend on progress in talks on denuclearisation. the british government is expected to put forward another compromise amendment on thursday to the main legislation on brexit. it will give more details on what kind of ‘meaningful vote‘ will be given to mps at the end of the negotiation process, a source of tension between pro and anti—eu politicians. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk with zeinab badawi. welcome to hardtalk with me, zeinab
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badawi. the new ethiopian government is making dramatic reforms in the country. the state of emergency had been lifted, the military and intelligence chiefs have been replaced, and opposition politicians have been released en masse from prison. one of those released is andargachew tsege, a prominent opposition leaderfrom andargachew tsege, a prominent opposition leader from the organisation, patriotic ginbot7. he had been on death row in an ethiopianjailforfour had been on death row in an ethiopian jail for four years. had been on death row in an ethiopianjailforfour years. will his group renounce violence and will he go back to ethiopia to help build the country's future? andargachew tsege, welcome to
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hardtalk. thank you for having me. so, you were at the airport in yemen in 2014, and then you were arrested and taken to ethiopia, en route to eritrea where your group is based. tell us briefly what happened. as you said, i was in transit, and i have a feeling the ethiopian authorities somehow got the knowledge i was in yemen. perhaps they used the very corrupt intelligence officers, paid a lot of money, i believe, and took me out of the waiting room. and they passed me
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to the ethiopian intelligence officers six hours later, and they kept me in the airport room. the intelligence officers, four of them, they handcuffed me behind my back and used heavy—duty silver tape to tape my eyes and mouth and took me toa tape my eyes and mouth and took me to a waiting plane. i did not know where i was being taken. that must have been very painful to have thick tape across your eyes and mouth. especially when they handcuffed youth. it was very, very painful. anyway, it is the way they transported me to ethiopia. you ended up in a jail? transported me to ethiopia. you ended up in ajail? not a proper jail. just a villa, and they had a
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room with no windows, just a small hole near the thing, and i was kept there for a year and a month until was taken to the federal prison, the legal prison. as a true leader of this opposition group, ginbot7, you had been sentenced an adventure in 2012 to death. how were you treated in prison —— absentia. you are valuable to authorities. for many days they did not remove the handcuffs. for five days? i did not sleep. with your hands at the back, it does not matter if they are in the front. i prefer at the time to be shot because it hurt so much. what about the tape? the tape and the chain on my legs, that went on
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for five days. the the chain on my legs, that went on forfive days. the handcuffs, they brought it to the front, and that was kept for a month. the chains on my legs were kept for three months. but until i saw the british ambassador after a month or a month 01’ ambassador after a month or a month ora ambassador after a month or a month or a half, i ambassador after a month or a month ora half, iwas ambassador after a month or a month or a half, i was not sure what would be my fate because i did not know where i was. you thought that you mightjust be where i was. you thought that you might just be executed. where i was. you thought that you mightjust be executed. yeah, and just dumped somewhere. although you are an ethiopian opposition figure, you have a british passport, that is why you mentioned the british ambassador. but your wife said i would have thought the uk would have clarity on this issue and say yes, this is wrong, that you had been abducted and kept in prison like this. with a helpful? -- were they helpful? it was a bit of a
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difference with my wife. she is under so much pressure and was demanding a lot. for me, the site of a british ambassador just demanding a lot. for me, the site of a british ambassadorjust by itself was a relief because at that time i was a relief because at that time i was certain they would not take a drastic measure. i knew now the outside world and knew where i was. the british help you? yeah, that was the beginning. and they were helping, because i had nothing, really. it was just sort of confinement. they demanded i be treated well a number of times and that i be seen by a doctor or a medical person. especially ones i was out of the hands of the security and transferred to the federal prison, they did what they could. the nature of the ethiopian government, you know... what do you
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mean did what they could? sometimes, in these countries with dictators running these nations, you push them sometimes and it can backfire, you know? they tried in a very gentle diplomacy, in fact. what i needed really most was a contact to the outside world. i was on my own. four yea rs outside world. i was on my own. four years in prison, and then, at the end of may, you were released, when thousands of prisoners, many of them political prisoners, were released by the new prime minister, muhamed. you were involved in ethiopian politics for a long time. in 2005 he went back to ethiopia from britain, and got involved in politics. you came back to the uk. look at you, a major ethiopian opposition figure, you cannot have dual nationality
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because if the obr does not allow that. —— ethiopia. it is convenient if when things get rough you can come back to the united kingdom. would have preferred to work in a country where i could contribute a light. this is the way things are. there were many opposition figures who did not have the luxury of a british passport who had a really tough time staying in the country, trying to change things from within. that really saved me from the abduction, you know? but it does... it does help as well. in 2008, in exile, you formed the patriotic ginbot7, the opposition group, you are the secretary general of it. did
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you have a clear vision beyond just opposing the government then and beyond? more than any political group in human history, it is this organisation that has a very clear vision. it is based on the outcome of the 2005 election. that election was rigged, you know? we believe the opposition won it. they used his army and his security forces. and the opposition went to court, and it was filled with political cadres of the ruling party, so we got no result. we took it to the streets, but the demonstration was banned. we really reflected, what was the problem with that election and why are the grievances of the people not addressed? are the grievances of the people not
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addressed ? unless you are the grievances of the people not addressed? unless you are in independent institution, organisation, to make democracy functional in a country like the obr, there is no point going to an election. —— ethiopia. our point was to make elections conducted fairly. ginbot7 was committed to achieving its objectives you outlined by any means, you have said. earlier in 2012, your party's supporters said they wanted to consider all means to ta ke they wanted to consider all means to take the ruling power down by armed struggle. some of the supporters of ginbot7 said that. armed struggle is fundamental to your means? no. ginbot7 said that. armed struggle is
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fundamentalto your means? no. look at the guise that formed ginbot7. they had a history that has really caused so much pain in our lives. lost a brother to the army. the chairman lost his sister, who was 20, a student, a classmate as well, you know? we were very, very relu cta nt to you know? we were very, very reluctant to add violence... but the head of foreign affairs for ginbot7, based in the uk, told hardtalk on the ninth of april this year, in many parts of ethiopia we continue through armed struggle and civil disobedience. we espouse not only
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armed struggle, but all forms of struggle, like civil disobedience. so using force is part of your methods? look at the 2005 election. look at the terror conducted by the regime in power. they cornered us in a position where at least we should assert the moral rights of dissent. since we have declared that we have not fired a single... in 2012, you we re not fired a single... in 2012, you were ruled guilty along with 22 others of attempted terrorism carried out inside ethiopia. it is said ginbot7 have claimed major attacks in northern ethiopian, march, 2017, several attacks, also in may, 2016, the southern district of alba minch, it is said ginbot7 killed 20 soldiers and injured 50.
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and the chairman of ginbot7, your organisation, said this is an indication of the beginning of the fight in all directions in the country. you do carry out attacks in ethiopia? i was in prison but i can tell you as an organisation, ginbot7, ido tell you as an organisation, ginbot7, i do not think has fired a single bullet. why was your colleague... perhaps it is referring to what has happened in all of these areas. you have not heard about killing 20 soldiers and injuring 50? not at all. i was in prison...” understand that, but you are secretary general. i was completely denied of any... i had no access to the news! i just denied of any... i had no access to the news! ijust assume now, and since i got out, no one informed me that if this organisation took these measures, i would have known about it. i believe, infact, measures, i would have known about it. i believe, in fact, there was a countrywide resistance, and it was
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pa rt countrywide resistance, and it was part of the resistance, a number of groups could take measures like that. but not ginbot7. by the ginbot7 is still banned technically in ethiopia, it was banned because it was seen as a terror organisation. tours the -- who are the terrorists? well, we have that with the authorities. who was a terrorist? a government that has killed over 1000 protesters and put all elected parliamentarians in prison! they stay in power using terror. we morally accept our moral rights rather than wanting to use violence. so, will you renounce violence. so, will you renounce violence now? of course. with the situation in ethiopian, the way it is developing now, we want to engage
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in politics in a civil way. we definitely renounce it. we were relu cta nt, definitely renounce it. we were reluctant, you know? we were pushed into it. are you, you doing that? no question, will there is a process. there's no question that we will be very eager because it is not good for a country like ethiopia. it is a very complex and very sensitive countries. did this you can come up when you had a 90 minute face—to—face conversation with the prime minister on your release, did you say to him, we are going to renounce violence, prime minister? he didn't ask me but our conversation covered a lot of issues. he assumed... he knows, for some reason, to talk to lots of individuals, that we are, the ginbot
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7. he's got great confidence in fact in the way we would handle the changes in ethiopia. did he said he was not banning you, did you get the impression... did he tell you, did you ask if you could be an band?” didn't ask him, there were a number of officials there, he said he was going to do it soon. he's taken a measure in allowing all giving really the right for it to be overturned. a number of other opposition leaders as well. he is based in error eritrea, where ginbot 7 is, and eritrea have been having bad relations with ethiopia to put it mildly. a vicious war for 30 yea rs it mildly. a vicious war for 30 years and around 80,000 died. is it
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wise to be based in eritrea still? we are not based in eritrea. we have a very good relationship with eritrea. we have very few members in eritrea. we have very few members in eritrea but our organisation is based in ethiopia. our relationship with eritrea is not really based on short—term gain. just really for the sake of really getting assistance to fight and struggle against the current government. in fact, my view about eritrea ns has current government. in fact, my view about eritreans has helped in convincing the current foreign minister to take the measure he has taken. what is your view? you have met the long—time leader of eritrea, is this the man that ahmed could do business with? i think he can do. there are a lot of things the outside world doesn't know about the eritreans. i outside world doesn't know about the eritrea ns. i strongly outside world doesn't know about the eritreans. i strongly believe. of course there are some issues. but they will, i have a feeling there is going to be peace between ethiopia
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and eritrea and a very close relationship in all aspects as well. with ahmed, as i said, you met him foran hourand a with ahmed, as i said, you met him for an hour and a half, what kind of issues did you discuss? one issue is what he would do, you know? all the different measures he would take in order to convince the opposition groups and leaders. did he convince you that this was somebody you could trust? pleaded, yes, a lot. what was the chemistry like with you and the new prime minister? he said there was a lot of resistance with this within his party. he said to the ruling party either he would resign ori ruling party either he would resign or i would be released. he gave them that sort of choice. that's what he told me. iwas that sort of choice. that's what he told me. i was surprised really that he raised the stakes are high for my
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release. that was the beginning of our good relationship i think. so the prime minister actually put his job on the line and threatened to resign unless you were released. that is also exactly his words. i believe him as well because i knew how much resistance he would face within his party. there are individuals or groups within his party that fake my guts, i tell you! he has made very, very dramatic changes. an ethiopian analyst at keele university in the uk said his appointment has led to moves of tectonic movements. he has changed the military and intelligence chiefs, liberalising the economy, so more investment can come in. all sorts of things, releasing opposition figures such as you, he
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does it for the best chance, doesn't he? can't comment on the measures he is taken for the economy because i'm not an economist. —— he's taken. once you see the political problems in ethiopia then it is easy to solve the economic problems. the steps he has taken our very encouraging but there are a number of things that should be done. replacing the security chief, or the army chief, is one thing, but changing the institutions to impartial institutions to impartial institutions that serve all people, all opposition, all political groups is another thing. there's work to be done. one big challenge for any leader, including you in your opposition group, is to appeal to all ethiopians, you are from a people that form 27% of the
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population in ethiopia and even though you say you are for all ethiopians but your population bases mainly from your group, as the same with the new prime minister, they represent 44% of the population, he has a lot of support among them. how can you as ethiopians appealed to ethiopians of all tribal backgrounds? ginbot 7, maybe the rank—and—file members could be of the president's people. you have admitted most of your supporters are from your people, it's an issue, isn't it? an ethnic system? in the country, yeah, but as an organisation, we are finding lots of people from lots of ethnic groups and we have to work on that to make it more multi—ethnic, multinational, as we put it in ethiopia. it is a
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problem. it is a problem. we've seen the instigation of a new national movement, and that shows us make identity is still important. identity politics has been entrenched for 37 years and that's one of the major problems the current prime minister is facing. the way he's going about it, all his... it starts with solving this problem of ethnic problems and creating really a unified country. what assurances did the prime minister give you that you would be welcome in ethiopia? he demanded in fa ct welcome in ethiopia? he demanded in fact that i shouldn't go back to england as fast... i met him the very evening i met him he was leaving. the verschuren the gives
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you is personal. —— the assurance. we wa nted you is personal. —— the assurance. we wanted to give him assurance based on law and institutions. the goodwill of our prime minister is one thing but you don't know the person in the security service's intentions. what did he want you to stay in ethiopia to do? join a political party, join the government? talk to particular government? talk to particular government groups close to him and affiliated with him. those groups that came from abroad as well. he saidi that came from abroad as well. he said i should take my time and discuss. he's having a big consultation publicly, isn't he, appealing to all operation groups to return and take part in the political process —— opposition groups. the elections are in 2020, will you stand and in what capacity? in my case i'm a british national and ethiopian law doesn't allow any... would you give up your
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british passport and take an ethiopian one? we will have to seek in the coming months and years. you cannot say no to that. when will you go back? we haven't finished discussing the situation in ethiopia with my fellow comrades outside. we need to have a thorough discussion and come up with our own probe plan for this transition. finally, do you feel like you want to be part of the effort to build ethiopia? -- road plan. that's been our dream and our ambition throughout. not only me but those in ginbot 7, they would love to do that, provided the condition in ethiopia is conducive. andargachew tsege, thank you for
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coming on hardtalk. thank you for having me. thank you. hello once again. i know it's the second week injune, but i have to start this particular show by reminding you we've got a named storm on our hands, and there's an amber warning from the met office for gusts of wind on thursday morning which could, in extremis, get up to around 60mph if not 70mph. where's all that coming from? this great lump of cloud hurtling towards us and deepening all the while and as it does so, quite a vigorous area of low pressure for the time of year. it's just got into the wrong place in the atmosphere and it's been deepening all the while in recent hours. such that as we get
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on through the day, we will find a real squeeze in those isobars initially working its way initially through northern ireland, but then on through exposed parts of scotland and through the north of england as well. but, with all the cloud and the wind around, it won't be a cold start to the new day on thursday, but it will certainly be a wet one for some and certainly a very windy one as well. i'll show you now the strength of the gusts, and there you are, in the central belt of scotland, some of those gusts could be up at around 60mph, as i say, if not 70mph. gales and severe gales quite widely across northern britain. travel disruption is distinctly possible, bbc local radio will be all over that, i assure you. even further south, it will be a noticeably windy day after a fairly quiet spell of weather. even here, as the weather front tumbles its way ever further towards the south and east, we'll find a little bit of rain. there's no doubt about it the bulk of rain will be found in scotland but i think rain becomes less and less of a problem and slowly,
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slowly, oh so slowly, especially in the northern half of britain, does the strength of the wind. with the sun coming out in the afternoon for many of us, we'll push the temperatures into the low 20s at the very best. friday thankfully a quieter day across the british isles, but notice the prospect of rain in the northern ireland and the possibility of downpours in dumfries and galloway, towards ayrshire and the western end of the central belt. what news of the weekend? none too promising to start with. look at this, another little bit of area of low pressure bringing cloud, wind and rain towards particularly initially the western side of the british isles, maybe spreading north and east through time as we get on through saturday. perhaps the best of the sunshine up into the north—eastern corner of scotland. not a complete write—off, i assure you, because sunday looks a drier and finer day as we finish off the weekend. take care. this is the briefing.
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i'm sally bundock. our top story: all footballing eyes turn to russia with the world cup about to kick off. iam i am live in moscow. the wait is finally over. the world cup kicks off today, with russia taking on saudi arabia. i will have all of the excitement and the atmosphere coming up. as the american secretary of state meets his counterparts, there are signs of concern about the deal with north korea from japan. we also note that no security guarantees have been given yet.
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