In an urgent message to African leaders currently meeting in Addis Ababa, EPDP Chairman Menghesteab Asmerom warned that Eritreans, shut out from the entire world after the recent closure of border with the Sudan, are now totally "exposed to a looming mass starvation" unless action is taken to avert the worst before things get too late.
In the message dated 27 January and addressed to African Union Commission Chair, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the EPDP Chairman reminded African leaders taking part at the two-day summit opening Sunday, 28 January, that Eritrea's self-imposed embargo should be among the top agenda items in because it will be a matter of life and death of millions in the country who are by impoverished by the ongoing disastrous policies of the belligerent regime in Asmara.
The EPDP message also strongly appealed to the participants of this 30th Assembly of African leaders to seriously discuss as to what AU can do to help the 40,000 Africans stranded in Israel, a vast majority of them from Eritrea.
In addition, the message urged the African summit meeting "to do its utmost to help cool down the tensions heating up in the Red Sea and Horn of Africa region".
Printed below is the full text of the EPDP Chairman's message to African leaders at the 30th Assembly of the AU which is also being attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
An Appeal to AU's Attention to Beleaguered Eritreans
To: H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat,
The African Union Commission,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
CC: African Heads of State and Government at the 30th AU Summit,
27 January 2018
Your Excellency Au Commission Chairman,
On behalf of the leadership and members of the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), an opposition organization in exile, I feel honoured to address this message wishing a resounding success to this 30th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) meeting under the important theme, "Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation".
We share the view that corruption, in all of its ugly aspects, is one of the central root causes of the ongoing suffering of our peoples in the continent, and we hope that conclusions of this summit will show a renewed resolve to fight this plague.
Secondly, and while appealing to this Assembly to do its utmost to help cool down the tensions heating up in the Red Sea and Horn of Africa region, we also wish to call upon you to discuss the problem of endangered lives in Eritrea because of a self-imposed embargo. The people are completely shut out from the outside world and are no doubt exposed to a looming mass starvation.
Dear AU Commission Chairman and Assembly Participants,
As you know, Eritrea's borders with Djibouti and Ethiopia have been closed since a long time, and the only outlet for limited commerce and trade for the people was the Sudan until two weeks ago. Even the unlikely sea rout to Yemen is not available for known reasons. The only "open" outlet is the unreachable blue sky.
Dear Madams/Sirs at the 30th AU Assembly,
You are well aware that the regime in Asmara is in total isolation due to its own bad relations with its neighbours and most of the outside world. You know, as we do, that the UN sanctions were targeted and had no adverse effect on the people. Those nominal UN sanctions, most of which are unfortunately not fully implemented to this day, were meant to serve only three purposes:
- To control the sale/purchase of weapons by the belligerent regime;
- To check bank accounts and visa applications of a few regime figures, and
- To stop illegal money extortions by the embassies of the rogue regime.
The regime has been alleging that the "UN sanctions were affecting the people". That was an fabricated excuse, a pure lie. It is the self-imposed embargo - isolation of the country from all of its neighbours - that has pauperized the entire population which is now at the brink of a looming mass starvation following the closure of the Sudan border.
This is an alarm call, Sirs/Madams, and we hope you will take note of it.
Needless to add, problems of beleaguered Eritreans at home and abroad are endless. To say it briefly, we hope you will also take note of the 40,000 African refugees/migrants in Israel, 30,000 of them from Eritrea, now being threatened to either leave Israel to "anywhere" till April 2018 or face endless prison term. Their plight no doubt deserves the attention of this 30th AU Assembly of African leaders. I trust ,Sir, that your esteemed office will share this message with all participants of this two-day summit opening on Sunday, 28 January 2018.
Menghesteab Asmerom, Chairman,
Tthe Eritrean People's Democratic Party (EPDP)