Will Eritrean authorities nod to Ethiopian government-backed effort to promote relation between Eritreans and Ethiopians? But is there even a problem between Eritreans and Ethiopians?
Just two days ago, news of Ethiopian government working on new foreign policy as it relates to Eritrean situation was reported by Ethiopian news sources including this website.
As it turns out, an interest group based in Addis Ababa seem to be planning to turn around the tide so as to promote what they called “people to people relation” between Ethiopians and Eritreans. The group is composed of intellectuals and elders, according to The Ethiopian Reporter, who even seem to be determined to travel to Asmara to meet president Isayas Afeworki to promote the idea.
A meeting of intellectuals was held at Harmony hotel in Addis Ababa to discuss the issue.
Habtom Gebre Libanos, head of Harmony Events ( which organized the meeting) told The Ethiopian Reporter :
- “The objective of the discussion among intellectuals is to create a common understanding and to identify issues we need to work on in the future so as to facilitate working together [between Eritrean and Ethiopian intellectuals]”
The group, which is apparently organized by Harmony Events, has two step plans to bring Eritreans to Ethiopia for a discussion. In the first step, it will bring 200 Eritreans and in the second phase they will bring 400 Eritreans (including celebrities, artists, and elders) to organize “people to people conference and concerts.”
Ethiopian government expressed readiness to give free visas for Eritreans to come to Ethiopia for the project. Last week government permitted Eritreans to protest in Addis Ababa against the government in Eritrea.
Professor Medhane Tadesse presented a paper at the meeting and spoke to The Ethiopian Reporter. A translation of what he told to the news source reads
- “…efforts to reconcile Eritreans and Ethiopians are not coordinated which could be an obstacle to utilize their[Eritreans and Ethiopians] potential to tackle security and peace challenges and expose them to suffering at individual level”
Medhane emphasized the need to make history and culture of the two people open for discussion as it is crucially, he thinks, important to resolve the current impasse.
As well, he says that there is a plan to convince president Isayas Afeworki on the matter.
Already one hundred thousand Eritrean refugees live in Addis Ababa – which was once a cherished home for thousands of Eritreans before Tigray People Liberation Front government expelled them following the Ethio-Eritrean conflict which caused the loss of at least 100,000 lives on both sides.
The Irony is that Ethiopians were abused by the TPLF government and their patrols (some of whom are now emerging as interest groups to unite Eritreans and Ethiopians) when they claimed that Ethiopians and Eritreans are one people on grounds of culture, history and even blood relations.
Ethiopians have also opposed when the TPLF government decided to expel Eritreans, many of them were born and raised in Addis Ababa, from Ethiopia after the border conflict.
Now when the domestic and regional situations become security concerns for TPLF, it is pushing the “people to people relation” agenda to “reconcile” with Eritrea and Eritreans. Again the question is, was there any problem at all between Ethiopians and Eritreans as people? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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