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ZENAWI DISMISSES BRITISH THREAT TO CUT AID

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Jan 31 (GIN) - Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has dismissed a threat by Britain to withhold some $88 million in direct funds, saying that development in his country would continue despite a cut in aid.

"We do not believe this measure to be correct and appropriate," Meles said at a meeting with local media. "The government has the capacity to run regular activities and main development programs of the country through its own expenditure, should any serious measures be taken by development partners."

Britain said it would withhold around $88 million of funds to the government as a result of continuing human rights and governance issues after a deadly crackdown o­n post-election demonstrations.

Ethiopia was rocked by violence in June and November 2005 after the elections, which returned Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's party to power. The violence led to the death of 88 protesters at the hands of security forces and the arrest of thousands of people in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian officials have accused neighboring Eritrea and the rebel Oromo Liberation Front of supporting the clashes involving students and security forces.

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