Your Excellency Dr Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister,
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
May you enjoy peace and have best of health.
We, the peaceful demonstrators gathered in front of the venue of the public meeting you are addressing today here in Germany, are members of the huge Eritrean diaspora dispersed all over the globe after having fled from our beloved home which is denied peace, justice, prosperity, democratic governance, and good neighborliness by the repressive regime in the country. We trust Your Excellency knows well that this is not a demonstration of protest against you. We are demonstrating simply to draw your kind attention to our earnest wish that you lend a helping hand towards building a truly lasting peace and good neighborliness between the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
We no doubt salute and support the considerable reforms being taken in Ethiopia, such as the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience; your welcoming of erstwhile political opponents as rivals by pledging to open political space for them to compete in a peaceful manner, and your Government’s encouragement and promotion of the active participation of women and the youth in the political life of your country.
Likewise, we appreciate and support your unconditional adoption of the Algiers Agreement and the ruling of the Border Commission as the sure paths, as we always believed, towards peace in the region. However, in order to translate words into action, we know it is absolutely imperative that the two governments or the two leaders are transparent to the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia about the deals they enter to.
Border Demarcation Is a Primary Issue
As you very well know, border demarcation is an indispensable factor for sustainable peace and co-existence between states; it is part of the mutual recognition of each other’s territorial sovereignty. And let along sovereign states, even local counties possess well defined territorial boundaries in order for them to lead peaceful and cooperative co-existence. Without clearly defined borders, Sir, it is difficult to know each other as ‘neighbors’ - let alone to live in peace. Therefore, for us Eritreans, border demarcation is not a secondary issue. It is our issue of topmost priority to be implemented. Only to underline, territorial sovereignty of our states shall be reassured by their having clearly delineated and demarcated borders. We feel you at the leadership have the historical obligation and responsibility to bequeath to the young and future generations of both sovereign states by signing clear and transparent treaties for all to see. If you do this, you will have a favorable record in the annals of the two fraternal peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Making a Genuine Deal Requires a Right Partner
It is an open secret that Eritrea remains to be a country without a constitution and constitutional system of governance; without the rule of law and without legitimate institutions framed through active public participation. As such the Eritrean people live under fear and cruel repression of a one-man dictatorship whose excessively abusive acts even spilled over borders and adversely affected Eritrea’s neighbors. We know it is good to forget old wounds for the sake of starting anew. It is necessary to open closed borders for the good of one’s people. Yet, deals and accords made without the minimum knowledge and consent of the concerned peoples can in the long run be dangerous. They can seriously affect future generations. We say this because, unlike Your Excellency, Isaias Afeworki is not a legitimate representative of the Eritrean people. Let alone our people, even the so-called cabinet ministers in Asmara are not aware of the deals being made between you and Isaias Afeworki. How can one imagine that such accords lead to a lasting peace? It is to be recalled that the secret deals of the long past and the ill-defined agreements between Eritrean Ethiopian rulers in 1992 have led our peoples to wanton destruction and killings. The currently ongoing exodus of Eritreans towards Ethiopia is a clear example of how much this people suffer and suffered under the secretive one-man dictatorship in Eritrea.
Any observer of the ongoing developments in the Arab Gulf and the Horn of Africa region can see accords signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia in places far away from Algiers or Ouagadougou and the African Union which were the origins of the process in settling the border conflict. Today’s agreements, like the one reached in Jeddah, can comprise details little known to the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia, and we cannot hide our deep concerns that they are potential causes of future conflict in a rivalry for regional domination.
Uncontrolled Trade and Commerce
For now, the uncontrolled economic transactions observed between the two countries since the opening of borders may sound good, especially for our people who have been shut down in absolute poverty. But this action can very easily lead unintended consequences. And who can ignore the significance of the economic factor in igniting the 1998 border war? As such, in order to avert the economic factor from repeating itself, we see it incumbent upon the two countries to regulate soon the open border trade and commerce as it should be managed between two sovereign states.
Moral and Human Obligations
We Eritrean demonstrators addressing this message to Your Excellency are part of our people engaged in a struggle against a deaf dictatorship that has become a threat to Eritrea’s very survival. The intention and the direction of the unelected dictator are not clear to our people. Although it is the Eritrean people who will have to bring about fundamental change in our country, yet we wish to remind fraternal Ethiopia and Your Excellency that you have a moral and human obligation to wish for the Eritrean people a better day at which they see their political prisoners released; start to live under the rule of law and establish a constitutional system of governance that opens political space for democratic competition.
Finally, Sir, we wish to pay our profound gratitude to the Ethiopian people’s warm welcome and assistance to the renewed exodus of Eritrean refugees, mostly children, mothers and young people. However, the burden of assisting ever increasing refugees can be beyond the capacities of the local people. It requires timely Government attention and intervention to help. Therefore, we modestly suggest and request that Ethiopian Government support to Eritrean refugees, new and old caseloads, must look beyond immediate relief. It would have to aim at helping them become educated and productive future citizens in Ethiopia’s neighborhood. As such, the support would have to include education, public health services, solid protection of their security and the provision of job opportunities.
May Our Fraternity and Good Neighborliness Keep Growing!!
Peace and Prosperity to the Peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea!!
Eritrean Peaceful Demonstrators, Frankfurt, Germany - 31.10.2018.