Newspaper Reports Defection of Ethiopian DiplomatAP , Associated Press
Jul. 13, 1986 11:00 PM ET
LONDON (AP) _ The second ranking diplomat at the Ethiopian Embassy in London has defected and is now in Washington, The Observer newspaper said Sunday.
It identified the diplomat as Ato Hailu Teferra, 48, who is listed in the London diplomatic directory as the embassy's commercial counselor.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman, who by government policy cannot be identified, said, ''I'm not aware of it and I don't think there is much we can say about it. We don't comment on these kinds of reports.''
Telephone calls to the Ethiopian Embassy went unanswered.
In Washington, Sondra McCarty, a State Department spokesman, said she had no information about the London newspaper's story.
The Observer said Teferra had defected because he believed his country had become a Marxist dictatorship under the rule of Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, who emerged as the military strongman after the 1974 turbulence that deposed the late Emperor Haile Selassie.
''He (Terferra) made the decision last week after being ordered back to Addis Ababa to attend what he described as an eight-week Marxism-Leninis m 'indoctrination course' and is now in Washington,'' the newspaper said.
In May, the State Department confirmed that Dawit Wolde Giorgis, who defected after serving as Ethiopia's top international relief specialist, was in the United States.