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.
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)
• 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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