Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Wednesday the country's new millennium will have to be a millennium, in which Ethiopians would reclaim their rightful place in world civilization.
Opening the inaugural meeting of the Ethiopian Millennium Festival National Council, Meles said the new millennium will have to be an era of prosperity for Ethiopia.
Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days and 6 days in leap year. Under the Ethiopian calendar, now is the year 1999. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8.
"The new Ethiopian millennium will have to be an era in which democracy and good governance shall prevail. An era in which lasting and reliable peace shall prevail. It should also be an era in which we would coexist in peace and mutual tolerance with our neighbors and people of the world," he said.
The culminating millennium is unarguably an era in which Ethiopians have registered a number of shining victories, Meles said, adding, Ethiopians have enjoyed independence at a time when all African countries were suffering under European colonialism.
On the other hand, Meles said it is undeniable that war, drought, famine and diseases had been predominant in the country during the same period.
Meles underlined the need to work day and night in order to ensure that the coming new millennium will be an era of peace, development and democracy.
Despite several challenges, Ethiopia has already started its journey to the new millennium by achieving encouraging and rapid economic development over the past few years, he said.
Though there are still anti-peace forces in and around Ethiopia, it is quiet certain that they would be destroyed in the near future as Ethiopians have practically committed to attain lasting peace, said Meles.