Fisseha Adugna has resigned: Embassy

LONDON - Fisseha Adugna, Ethiopia's ambassador to the United Kingdom, has resigned from his diplomatic service, and is currently in the United States with his family as his post is taken over by Berhanu Kebede, the ambassador to Sweden, a letter obtained by EthioMedia from Ethiopian Embassy in London has disclosed.

The Embassy denied previous reports of defection, and said Fisseha's resignation was prompted by 'family reasons.'

Political observers, however, suspect the diplomat may have called it quits over the worsening political crisis in Ethiopia, particularly after the Meles Zenawi regime - in power since 1991 - resorted to brazen killings and mass detentions of tens of thousands of Ethiopians following the ruling party's dismal performance at the May 2005 polls, and the public's continuing protests over rigged elections and government violence.

Following is the message obtained from the Ethiopian Embassay in London:

Ambassador Fisseha - 26 years of service to Ethiopia

Former Ambassador to the UK, Ambassador Fisseha Adugna, has resigned from the diplomatic service and will not be taking up his post as head of the Europe and US department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis. He has returned to the United States with his family; his son is at Harvard and his daughter is soon to attend university there too. His resignation letter states family reasons as the motivation.

Ambassador Fisseha has given 26 years of service to Ethiopia - 13 years of active service abroad, in Washington and London, preceded by 13 years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in various roles. He began his diplomatic career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1980 in the Policy, Planning and Research Department. In 1984, he was promoted to Second Secretary and served until 1986 as Desk Officer for Western European Countries. In 1986, he was promoted to the Counselor and Head of Neighboring Countries Division. In 1991, he was named Acting Head of the Africa Department in the Ministry until his appointment to the Ethiopian Mission to the United States in April 1992. Ambassador Fisseha served as Deputy Chief of Mission in the rank of Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington, D.C. until December 10, 2000. On December 13, 2000 he was appointed as Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Ethiopia in London, United Kingdom, and became Ambassador on March 8, 2002.

During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Fisseha attended four OAU Heads of States Summits, the UN General Assembly (1990), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Meetings, the first U.S.-Africa Ministerial Conference (1988, Washington, D.C.), the Annual Meeting of the World Bank Group and IMF (1999, Washington D.C.), and many other meetings of international and regional organisations.

Ambassador Fisseha made a magnificent contribution in all the posts that he held. He will be very much missed, and we wish him well.

H.E. Ambassador Berhanu Kebede, the new Ambassador to the UK arrived this month and will present his credentials to the Queen on 28th March. He was most recently Ambassador to Sweden.