Key donors to freeze aid to Ethiopian govt

International donors will freeze $375m (€316m) in aid to Ethiopia’s government following its recent crackdown on the main opposition party and the independent press, Western diplomats said today.

The money, however, will be reallocated to the UN and aid agencies working to combat poverty among the bulk of Ethiopia’s estimated 77 million people who live on less than a dollar a day.

Some of the money could also finance programs intended to strengthen democracy, the diplomats said.

Political unrest claimed the lives of at least 46 people in November. Another 42 died in June in similar protests over a May 15 election.

The protests began after the main opposition parties accused authorities of rigging the polls that returned Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to power.

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