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Statement of Ethiopian Diaspora Organizations on the Pitfalls of Negotiations with Terrorist Groups

Ethiopian Diaspora Organizations

January 2, 2022 

We, the Board members of the undersigned professional and civic organizations  in the Diaspora, would like to congratulate the Government of Ethiopia for its  unwavering position against foreign pressure to engage in negotiations with the  terrorist group, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). 

We decry in the strongest terms the policies of Western governments and  international organizations that hypocritically advocate negotiations with the  relatively small group of terrorists that are responsible for planning and  initiating the ongoing war, and whose planned and unprovoked action has led  to the treasonous murder of thousands of federal troops; the egregious rapes,  killings and torture of countless civilians; and the blatant infliction of  incalculable damage to public and private property.  

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We believe that the hypocritical call for ‘negotiations’ is a sinister ploy intended  to establish a formal process that automatically gives ‘equal status’ and  legitimacy to the terrorist group, while weakening and compromising the  sovereignty of the Government as an enforcer of the rule of law across the land. We also believe that this is a tired TPLF-led effort to hoodwink the international  community by using the vernacular previously employed by the West for similar  processes. It is common knowledge that these so-called “negotiated political  settlements” have all but undermined legitimate governments while leading to  failed outcomes. A recent case in point is the tragic outcome of the Doha  mediation which gave the Taliban a place at the negotiating table. 

Thanks to the billions of dollars they had embezzled during their three decades  of tyrannical rule, the treasonous TPLF leaders, with the help of highly paid experts and lobbying firms, have honed their disinformation skills. One  approach they have been pursuing, for example, involves setting down a  ‘dominant narrative’ through effective and expeditious communications, and  building subsequent discussions chiefly around this narrative, to the detriment  of the other party. Predictably, the TPLF propaganda, promoted by their  Western backers and media outlets, has already attempted to start building and  influencing around this dominant narrative. 

We maintain that any process moving forward must unambiguously rest on  accountability for ‘high crimes’ including mass murder and treason. Rule of law  is a critical pillar of democracy, and, hence, it must be treated as an ‘absolute’  concept and not something which can be applied selectively and inconsistently.  Any deviation from this cardinal principle would impact negatively on the  Government’s credibility and the trust that is currently required to galvanize the  commitment necessary – at home and across the diaspora – to move the  country forward. In addition, the Government’s resolve to demonstrate its  ability to uphold the rule of law with predictability is essential to build  and preserve current and future partnerships with external entities. 

We strongly advise that extreme caution be exercised in terms of the precedent  any direct or indirect engagement with the terrorist group would inevitably set for the wider, and much-needed, national dialogue. Affording exclusive  treatment to a terrorist group in the form of negotiations would not only set a  worrying precedent for other armed groups, such as the Oromo Liberation  Front (OLF) Shene, but would also undermine the very principles of a ‘national  dialogue’. However, we believe that the people of Tigray have also been victims  of TPLF’s divisive agenda and, hence, any process for national reconciliation  should take into account the voices of the Tigrayan people as well as those of legitimate Tigrayan opposition parties which have been ousted from  the region. 

In light of the above, we feel that it is absolutely critical for the Government to  be very clear about what will constitute ‘high crimes’ and which crimes will be  dealt with through truth and reconciliation mechanisms as a process supporting  any amnesty considered. It is also our view that the Government should not  depart from the line drawn on ‘high crimes’. 

Lastly, we stress the need for the Government to guard against setting a  dangerous precedent that would lead to irreparably devastating damage to the  inviolability of the integrity of the country and the supremacy of the collective  will of the people. There should be no room for doubt that the head of the  Government of Ethiopia is also the legitimate head of state and authority over  the Tigray region. Placing this authority in a submissive position would not only  give the terrorist group another lease on life, but would also encourage future  insurgents and adversely impact the Government’s relations with other regional  states.  

In conclusion, while we applaud the Government for its staunch stand hitherto  in thwarting foreign interference in the internal affairs of the country, we  encourage the leaders to resist the temptation to set any precedents with untowardly far-reaching consequences. In particular, we counsel that the  Government continue its current policy of ‘no negotiation with terrorist organizations’ and, in recognition of the ongoing repression and hardships  facing our Tigrayan compatriots, demand the unconditional surrender of the  TPLF, as well as OLF-Shene, leaderships, which continue to prioritize around  armed insurgency rather than humanitarian objectives. The failure of these  terrorist groups to submit to the call for surrender would, in our view, justify a  heightened military offensive against the rebels, as a prelude toward the  implementation of a national dialogue process framed in the rule of law, independence from political influence, and achievement of lasting peace  through justice, truth and reparations. 

Boards of Directors 

• Global Ethiopian Scholars Initiative (GESI) 

• People To People, Inc. (P2P) 

• Worldwide Ethiopian Civic Association Network (WE-CAN) 

CC:  

• H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, President, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia • H.E. Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D.), Prime Minister, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia • H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia 

• H.E. Gedion Timotheos (S.J.D.), Minister of Justice, Federal Democratic Republic  of Ethiopia • H.E. Fitsum Arega, Ambassador to the United States of America, Ethiopian Embassy,  Washington, D.C.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. The statement is constructive and forward looking. Negotiations with and inclusion of fascist and violent groups such as the TPLF in the national dialogue will undermine public confidence in the process. It will be viewed as rewarding violence and bowing down to the supporters of the TPLF fascists in the west. The government should take such suggestions and inputs from citizens and stakeholders into account and resist any foreign interference in the domestic affairs of the country. At the same time the anti-fascist campaign has drawn the public and the momentum should be used to defeat the TPLF for the sake of peace and stability in the country.

  2. It is an article well written in basic elementary language any layman in politics like me can understand the message. The situation there between Debre and the current federal administration is the perfect example of stalemate. Debre is now well dug in and waiting. Someone looking for him must go in there in person to smoke him out at extremely high cost in human lives to the ENDF. HE is well stocked with food supplies for his troops thanks to the UN Food Aid drive. He is still deep pocketed with billions in local currency robbed from the banks in areas where he rampaged for months in Amhara and Afar regions. He does not to worry about salaries like Abiy does because all his soldiers are volunteers. The have to wait until he enters Addis/Finfine and they will receive their salaries including back pays and survivors benefits by the shovel. Get a load of this folks! This one I heard from a friend who had a conversation with one of Debre’s rabid fans. He told him in absolute terms that Debre’s region does not need any food aid if he is allowed to sell products he is capable of making at his factories on the global market. He will try to sell that plan to UN, EU and the rest of the West. He has now made it official that he and his people are Arabs it may not need much effort to sell his products in the Middle East. He is already making incendiary accusation that Abiy and the rest of the country have desecrated one of the holiest sites to Muslims like me, the Al Nejashi. What I am hearing now is Debre May be willing to recognize the Abiy regime in exchange for the same recognition for his administration in Tigray. He will propose an exchange of prisoners of war. So folks, be ready for a ride you will never forget.

  3. The very recent news I have read on various media outlets about Debre’s hooligans stripping factories clean of manufacturing equipment from the towns they temporarily occupied in Afar is going and Amhara regions validates what their next plan of action is going to be. Residents of those are telling how Debre’s vagabonds were zeroing in on specific factories and specific machineries. It looked they came with a list of what they wanted to haul away to their joint. They obliterated what was not on their list. That included raw, WIP and finished goods inventories. They will repack and sell the finished goods at open or black market at dirt cheap prices. They will need standing peace to process the WIP and raw material they have amassed during their grand larceny rampage in those temporarily occupied regions. They will tell UN their region will not need any food aid or any humanitarian aid if they are allowed to sell the products they manufactured on the global market. Then we will be deafened by the Bachelet, De Waal and the other White Citizens Council bigot from Norway. PM Abiy will be coerced to open a safe corridor for Debre’s products all the way to the Djibouti border and Guelleh will be given a stern order to avail his shipping docks otherwise he will be gone in a flash. How will Debre transport the goods all the way to the Tadjoura or Djibouti ports, you may ask? Thank UN for that! He has more than 1,000 heavy trucks ‘given’ to him fully stocked with highly nutrient food stuff and more will be coming soon. So all the pieces of the puzzle have lined up well for Debre and his company. Then all he has to do is declare the founding of the new Arab Democratic Republic!!! Now I’m being tempted to move there, dude!!!

  4. Everyone must closely follow Pm Abiy because he comes up with unusual and abnormal decisions many respected leaders would never consider taking. His preemptive speeches always ended up with widely unacceptable and arrogant wrong decisions.

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