በኦስሎ፣ኖርዌይ ለሚገኘው ለአሜሪካ ኤምባሲ የገባው ደብዳቤ ሙሉ ይዘት
28. May 2021
Richard H Riley
The charge d'affaires ad interim
The embassy of the United states in Norway
Subject: Protesting ill-informed and ill-intended US senate Resolution (S.Res 97) on Ethiopia and
We, the undersigned Ethiopian and Eritrean organizations in Norway in conjunction with similar initiatives in many other European countries and US states, are writing this letter to the US embassy and representation in Norway protesting the US senate resolution 97 on Ethiopia and Eritrea. We write to express our disappointment over the recent and drastic US policy shift towards the region of Horn of Africa. We warn the shift may endanger damaging more than a century old fraternity and friendship between our countries and peoples. We would also like to remind the shift pause enormous humanitarian and political impact to our countries with consequences for the US interest in the region and beyond. Furthermore, the US induced economic and political crisis in the Horn of Africa will eventually lead to major security threats and destabilization for the larger regions of Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Ethiopia and Eritrea are confronted with a multi-pronged covert and overt campaign by some of its partners exerting undue pressure on the government by levelling prejudiced and gratuitous accusations against it. We are deeply troubled by the continuous unfounded allegations and unwarranted pressure by members of the international community spearheaded by the EU and the USA. It is becoming questionable whether some have a genuine interest to understand the situation and assist our countries in dealing with the challenges. All of the public pronouncements of the State department and US representative at the UN, for example, indicates that it is working relentlessly to frustrate the reform agenda and undermine confidence in the coming elections in Ethiopia.
For several years, there has been and continues to be, relentless and unsubstantiated accusations against Eritrea, for acts of destabilisation and discord in the Horn of Africa. One of the clearly deceptive accusations, was the concocted allegation levelled against Eritrea, by TPLF backed by the US administration and western media. This put the country under unjust and illegal sanctions in 2009. Now it seems the same actors are aiming for history to repeat itself with similar accusations, which is now driving a dangerously misguided international response towards Eritrea, Ethiopia, and the broader Horn of Africa region.
We would like to draw your attention to the following points:
The government of Ethiopia was forced into a law enforcement operation in Tigray region in response to a large-scale treasonous military attack by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on the largest military division based in that region. It is a measure that any sovereign nation would have taken against such a heinous domestic threat. The government is currently providing the majority of humanitarian assistance to support those affected by the conflict. It is also working constructively with international humanitarian aid agencies by providing unhindered access to all parts of the region. However, the USA has been consistently undermining the efforts of Ethiopian government by repeatedly demanding access irrespective of the improved situation on the ground. It is simply not the real problem of the aid agencies in the region. The civilians affected by this conflict would rather benefit from increased capacity and resources to improve the relief efforts.
Ethiopia is also taking all the necessary steps to investigate alleged human rights abuses and associated crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice. The recent announcement by the Federal Attorney General on the matter is part of this commitment. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights are also working on the process of joint investigation. Therefore, the government is fully committed to applying the full force of the law and serve justice.
Ethiopians are determined to build an inclusive and fair system of governance. One of the pillars of democracy is the holding of regular national elections. The country is working to organize the 6th national elections in such uncertain and difficult circumstances. The elections will no doubt fall short of democratic expectations in some respects but they will mark a decisive turn in the process of democratization. It is hoped that they will allow the people to freely exercise their democratic rights and contribute to building a strong, representative government with a more inclusive power structure. Thus, we believe that the decision by the EU not to observe the upcoming elections is unreasonable and completely misguided. It is in the EU's interest to support the reform efforts by the Government of Ethiopia including institutional capacity building for the sustainable process of democratization.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a non-consumptive hydroelectric dam being built on the river Nile inside Ethiopian territory with 100 percent local financing. GERD, once completed, provides much needed electric power to more than 60% of Ethiopians, who are currently off grid, to extricate themselves from poverty, accelerate the country’s sustainable development and mitigate environmental degradation. The electric power generated at GERD has tangible economic benefits for neighbouring nations as well, thereby fostering regional integration. Because the Nile is a transboundary water resource, Ethiopia strongly believes that its use shall be based on the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and causing no significant harm to downstream riparian countries. As such Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have already agreed that the GERD will be filled in stages that last for 4-7 years. And the second stage filling of the dam is scheduled for the upcoming rainy season and the downstream countries have already indicated that it will not impact their interests. Therefore, it is difficult to understand why the filling of the GERD suddenly becomes a source of coercion that is being deployed by some in the international community.
We believe that Ethiopia is momentarily distressed but the citizens remain confident that elections will be held in due time, the GERD will soon be filled and the law and order will be restored in Tigray and other parts of the country. Moreover, all those who have committed human rights abuses in the country will be held accountable and be brought to justice.
The Eritrean and Ethiopian communities in Norway are dismayed by the content and language of the US senate resolution and the announcement of Visa restrictions and other punitive measures by the Secretary of state . The crisis in Tigray Region of Ethiopia unfolded solely due to the dangerous acts of military insurrection that the now defunct TPLF group launched on 4th November 2020. The TPLF’s military plot was not confined to Ethiopia but also included Eritrea as a target, by launching several missiles to Asmara and other populated areas. TPLF’s reckless act had endangered the lives of innocent people both in Ethiopia and Eritrea. To gloss over these facts and point an accusing finger on Eritrea defies logic and is unwarranted by any standards. Furthermore, the timing of the announcement – made on the eve of Eritrea’s Independence Day – exceeds minimal bounds of civility and decency. And irrespective of their actual implications, the announced measures cannot promote legality as well as regional peace and security.
In conclusion, as citizens of two independent nations, there is no dearer term for Ethiopians and Eritreans than independence. Freedom from dictation by a foreign power, respect for their sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs remain our creed. While all international support based on mutual respect is highly valued, they need to be based on principles of fairness and the utmost regards for the sovereignty of nations.
Therefore, we request the USA senate and government to revise the ill-informed and ill-intended policy shift we are witnessing. Besides we call on all peace-loving nations and international organizations to:
Refrain from putting undue pressure on the government of Ethiopia, via irresponsible pronouncements and to desist from providing any dictates on and interference with its internal affairs
Act on changing facts on the ground rather than operating on arbitrary demands and on the basis of misinformation.
Ethiopian Community and Civic organizations in Norway:
The Defend Ethiopia EU/Norway. Kassahun G. Degena,; Kassuahun@gmail.com
Sammen for Etiopia, Tesfaye Korfil, Tlf +4791516954, firstname.lastname@example.org
Den Etiopisk forening i Norge. Email email@example.com Tlf 970 02 935
Ethiopian Norwegian Professional Organization (ENPO), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ethiopian Common Forum in Norway. Email email@example.com
Mother of the Generation for peace and reconciliation. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ethiopian Advocacy Norway. email@example.com
Eritrean Communities in Norway:
Den eritreiske forening i Oslo
Den eritreiske kvinneforening i Norge
Den eritreiske forening i Rogaland
Den eritreiske forening i Hordaland/Vestland
Den eritreiske forening i Midt Norge
Samson Yared, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elias Elefe, email@example.com
Samson Gebreamlak, firstname.lastname@example.org