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Abba Bahrey Forum Statement : We Reject Premature Calls for Negotiation between  the Fanno Movement and the Prosperity Party in Ethiopia

Abba Bahrey Forum sees negotiation moves between Fano and Abiy Ahmed’s government as premature

Abba Bahrey Forum
Press Release

Informal calls for negotiation between the Fanno Amhara Movement and the ruling  Prosperity Party are being made by the international community and the disintegrating and feckless Amhara wing of the Prosperity Party in the so-called Amhara Regional  State. While no one with the right mind will reject a call for peace in a region that has  suffered enormous wanton destruction and genocide, and currently facing an epic  famine, we must recognize that durable peace can come only with justice. 

We explain below why this seemingly well-intended call, in the face of an impending  military defeat of federal forces by a popular uprising, will undermine the momentum  of the armed and popular resistance. We are convinced that it will prolong the suffering  and agony of our people in the cruel hands of an ethnocratic dictatorship. 

CONTEXT 

The Amhara are a historic people who comprise over one-third of Ethiopia’s 120 million  people. Their cultural, political, and economic prominence in spearheading the building  of the Ethiopian state has exposed them to unwarranted envy and hatred by an  assortment of revolutionary and secessionist forces for the past fifty years. The  collective punishment of the Amhara for being the flagbearers of Ethiopian nationalism  has intensified over the past five years to merit the label of cultural and physical  genocide wherever they reside.  

In the past two years, a citizen militia has emerged in the Amhara Regional State upon  realizing that the ‘final solution’ is underway. The Amhara are now exercising their  obligation to defend their very existence as a people. A successful insurgency and civil  disobedience movement, popularly known as the Fanno Amhara Movement, has  evicted the Federal security forces from much of the countryside and is currently  encircling the big towns and cities in the Amhara Regional State.

The Abiy Ahmed regime has just renewed the six-month emergency decree to snuff out  this movement with a combination of heavy ground and air strikes on innocent  communities. This militaristic strategy of using the national army as local police force is  not working. The insincere call for negotiation is the latest and desperate gimmick to  save the regime from the consequences of its arrogance. We believe that any call for  negotiation with the brutal regime will not work for the following reasons: 

First, dictatorships concede only in the face of impending defeat in the hands of  contenders for political power with a high violence capability to back up their political  position. Ethiopia has a long tradition of reconciling conflicting groups with truth and  justice to make the agreement stick. However, a murderous dictatorship cannot be  negotiated with because this would mean giving it a new lease on life. The odious Abiy  regime must be defeated to restore peace with justice and save Ethiopia. The  negotiation should, therefore, be about the terms of surrender upon Fanno’s victory. 

Second, premature negotiation is risky because it will weaken the strong Fanno  momentum to victory which is key to achieving lasting peace. The call by an assortment  of self-serving geopolitical interests, party cadres, and opportunist domestic allies for negotiation must be resisted until the conditions are right for a solution for the multiple  and deep-seated crises facing the country. 

THE RISKS OF NEGOTIATING NOW 

Let us elaborate on the risks of negotiation at this point in the struggle for Amhara  survival: 

(1) The fundamental interests of the Fanno movement and those of the Oromo-run  Federal Government are inherently irreconcilable. While negotiations over a  ceasefire can be contemplated at the right time, the political side of the  negotiation to overhaul the violent and exclusionary political order is at best  premature. 

(2) The Fanno movement is currently consolidating itself under a unified military and  political structure to facilitate coordination of key decisions. A premature  engagement with negotiation involving some Fanno units in the face of  opposition by others may create divisions within the movement and its  supporters. 

(3) The Prosperity Party is not a credible partner for an enforceable negotiated  agreement. The ruling group believes in a violent destruction of all competitors  which it views as enemies; weaponizes lies and deception to serve short-term  interests; it has a very narrow constituency to please; and it has few or no  significant foreign allies for leverage to honor its commitments. 

TOWARD A MEANINGFUL NEGOTIATION 

A negotiated settlement, at the right political moment, with the right parties, and the  proper modality, must be seriously considered. Such negotiation should be undertaken  if the following minimally essential confidence-building measures can be undertaken to  pave the way for a durable military and political settlement: 

First, the recently renewed emergency decree, which suspends constitutional rights,  must be rescinded.  

Second, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, must evacuate from cities and towns in  the Amhara Regional State and return to their camps near the international borders. 

Third, the Amhara Prosperity Party must be removed and replaced by a transitional  government of newly elected parliamentarians and newly appointed senior  administrators under the aegis of a victorious Fanno Movement. 

Fourth, all political prisoners must be released without any precondition. 

Fifth, the economic blockade on the Amhara Regional State must be immediately lifted,  including full budgetary restoration, free movement of people to Addis Ababa, and a  fair distribution of relief and reconstruction aid. 

Sixth, the Oromo militia and police must completely withdraw from Addis Ababa and  Dire Dawa and cease and desist from interfering with legitimate traffic on federal  highways and railroads. 

Seventh, stop the genocidal acts against the Amhara in various parts of Oromia and  Beni-Shangul-Gumuz and prepare a program to compensate and return them to their  communities. 

Eighth, commit to guarantee the establishment of a reliable structure for Ethiopia built  on peacemaking justice, democracy, and equality.

It is our considered judgment that, given the state of the Fanno struggle, the nature of  the regime, and the absence of propitious conditions, any call for negotiation is ill considered and can be ominously costly to the freedom movement which is fast  gathering momentum.  

www.abbabahrey.org

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1 COMMENT

  1. Using “Abba Bahrey” for a Forum is a poor political strategy. Go figure. You need to get off a”zeraf” mentality to be effective in current political culture.

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