Many Swedish journals are writing nowadays about the ongoing conflicts in Ogaden and the cover up of the atrocities committed by the Ethiopian army in the region. The journalists are angered by the way their Foreign Minster handled the matter of two jailed Swedish journalists in Ethiopia, who were reportedly investigating the actions of Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum where Bildt was a director. AFTONBALDET wrote;

Bildt olämplig på grund av jäv  

He should hand over responsibility today, because of the continuing trial in Ethiopiaagainst the two jailed Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson.

What happens in the courtroom is important, but the diplomatic game is probably even more important. Sweden needs to muster all the help it can get from other European Union States and the United States.

Therefore, the State Department has a very important role, as Ethiopia is rather a country where there is no democracy and without the rule of law. The Embassy in Addis Ababa did, apparently, what they can.

Higher up is the bigger problem, and Carl Bildt, has come up with one statement more unusual than the other –  he treated the imprisoned journalists as a consular matter rather than a matter of freedom of the press.

Armed conflict

Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson were arrested last summer after they illegally entered the Ethiopia to monitor human rights violations in the Ogaden province. The area is an armed conflict between the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Ethiopian government forces.

The conflict has gotten worse by the fact that many oil companies are taking up the oil in the Ogaden province. One of them is the Swedish group Lundin. Carl Bildt was himself director of Lundin Petroleum, as the exploitation of oil in the Ogaden was carried out.

Should hand over responsibility

Ethiopia’s leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, now wants to set an example to scare other journalists from examining the human rights violations he committed in the Ogaden. An interest he shares with oil companies, it’s their investment, he protects.

Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson were thus in the Ogaden to review Carl Bildt and the oil company that has been building up his personal fortune.

Carl Bildt ought to reasonably hand over responsibility to someone who can not be suspected of bias.

Oil is, after all, thicker than water.

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