Letter to Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn – Ethiopian Borders Affairs Committee

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To: His Excellency Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn,
      Prime Minister of Ethiopia,
      Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Subject: Sudanese Incursion into Ethiopian Territory

December 26, 2017

Dear Prime Minister Hailemariam;

It is with a great deal of anger, frustration and dismay that we write this letter to you urging your government to take a firm stand with regard to Sudanese aggression against Ethiopia; and against the annexation of territories that do not belong to the Sudan. The people of Ethiopia have the right to know why your government allows incursions into Ethiopian territory; why Ethiopia’s armed forces are unable to defend the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and why Ethiopian citizens are being assaulted by the Sudanese and displaced from their lands.
The silence of the government of Ethiopia under your leadership is both baffling, demeaning and inexcusable. The Ethiopian Borders Affairs Committee (EBAC) has a long-held and principled position that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that negotiates Ethiopia’s borders and transfers Ethiopia’s lands to the Sudan secretly has no legitimacy or authority to cede Ethiopian lands. As Prime Minister of Ethiopia, you and your government are accountable for defending Ethiopia’s national unity and sovereignty and the welfare of its people. Sudan’s incursions into Ethiopia are illegal under international law.

As you know, the Constitutive Act of the African Union that the Sudan signed along with other member countries underscores a fundamental principle that each member country must respect at all times. “Conscious of the fact that the scourge of conflicts in Africa constitutes a major impediment to the socio-economic development of the continent and of the need to promote peace, security and stability as a prerequisite for the implementation of our development and integration agenda.” This Covenant strengthens the 1963 Charter establishing the Organization of African Unity (OAU) that compels each member nation to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all member nations; and that requires clearly that each member nation has a legal obligation to adhere to the incontestable and binding principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States. Non-interference in the internal affairs of States is equally a corner stone of the UN Charter to which both Ethiopia and the Sudan subscribe. The government of the Sudan continues to violate these principles with regard to Ethiopia.

The purpose of this letter is to express our outrage at the latest episode of Sudanese armed forces crossing Ethiopia’s borders with the intent of annexing and incorporating Ethiopian lands into the Sudan permanently. This is a form of aggression and a violation of Ethiopia’s territorial

integrity and national sovereignty. This undeclared “invasion” impregnates a dark and permanent scar between the Ethiopian and Sudanese people.
The government of Ethiopia cannot sit idle while the country’s territory is being invaded by the Sudanese. The TPLF has no right to lease or sell or cede Ethiopian territory to anyone without the consent of the Ethiopian people. EBAC has sent a similar letter to President Bashir urging him and his government to withdraw Sudanese troop from Ethiopia; and to refrain from attacking Ethiopia in the future.

As you well know, the peoples of the two countries have lived in harmony as good neighbors on the basis of peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and the advancement of mutual socioeconomic, geopolitical, security and cultural benefits. To the best knowledge, no party had, before the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) took power in Addis Ababa, registered any territorial claims or raised substantive border issues between Ethiopia and the Sudan. The current wanton and illegitimate incursion into Ethiopia has been simmering since the TPLF took political power in 1991. The TPLF took power in large part due to Sudanese material, logistics, diplomatic and security support. Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people cannot be hostages to TPLF’s traitorous promise to the Sudan.

Since taking power, the TPLF has polarized Ethiopian society. It rules through a dangerous ethnic-based system of “divide and rule.” It trades lands for narrow self-interest.
If an independent public survey was allowed in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee (EBAC) is convinced that 94 percent of Ethiopia’s 105 million people would reject the TPLF. EBAC wishes to bring to your attention that, contrary to its relentless propaganda, the TPLF represents only a narrow band of self-appointed and self-serving persons who do not even represent the long-term interests of the people of Tigray.

Mr. Prime Minister;

EBAC reiterates its well-established position that only continued good neighborliness of respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ethiopia offers the peoples of the Ethiopia and the Sudan including future generations the peace, tranquility, stability; and the requisite lasting foundation for sustainable and equitable development. These principles are essential for the development and prosperity of the Ethiopian and Sudanese people. War and war-mongering does the exact opposite.

EBAC believes that your government ought to inform the Sudanese that it is the responsibility of the government of the Sudan to contribute its due share and to uphold such peaceful relationships between the peoples of the two countries by withdrawing all of its troops and security agents from all of Ethiopia’s territories immediately. You have an obligation to the Ethiopian people that the Sudanese are informed unequivocally that it is the sole responsibility of the government of the Sudan to never again send Sudanese troops, agents, other intruders and proxies of any kind with the intent of annexing lands from Ethiopia and Ethiopians and incorporating them into the Sudan. Such acts are illegitimate and non-binding.

EBAC has pleaded with Meles Zenawi and you as well as with the Sudanese repeatedly in writing, with copies to the Security Council of the UN and to the African Union that failure to adhere to the fundamental principles of Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity will have far-reaching and adverse consequences in the years to come. Among other things, annexation and incorporation of Ethiopian lands into the Sudan with the explicit or other consent of the TPLF is non-binding to us and to all of the Ethiopian people.

You should know that the Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee represents a cross-section of Ethiopians, including Tigrean patriots who believe in Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty to which the TPLF is inimical.

It saddens the entire EBAC organization that, many years after we lodged our objections to the sinister, secret and underhanded border negotiations between the TPLF and the Sudanese government, we are once again, compelled to draw your attention to the imperative that the lead responsibility of the government of Ethiopia is not to appease the Sudanese; but to defend Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Mr. Prime Minister;

We urge you to recognize that neither your government nor any successor government of Ethiopia has the right to cede or to accept the annexation of any Ethiopian territory by the Sudan or any other foreign government. EBAC has said repeatedly in our letters to the Sudanese, to Meles, to you and to international and regional bodies that the TPLF “has no authority to cede any Ethiopian territory without the consent of the people of Ethiopia.”

We should like to inform you that Ethiopians, including EBAC are unified in their outrage and opposition to the recent Sudanese incursion with the intent of annexation of lands. Ethiopians are no longer afraid to oppose the TPLF and to reject Sudanese aggression.

EBAC and other patriotic and nationalist groups have called on Ethiopia’s defense forces and residents of the affected territories to be vigilant against Sudanese aggression and deter annexation of Ethiopian lands.

Once again, EBAC categorically rejects any attempt by the government of the Sudan with the complicity of the TPLF to infringe upon the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.
EBAC denounces the latest Sudanese invasion of Ethiopian territories with the intent of annexation of lands; and EBAC demands that Sudanese forces withdraw from Ethiopian territories immediately.

EBAC demands that the government of the Sudan stop its incursions into Ethiopia.
EBAC demands that the government of the Sudan, its agents or proxies stop the destruction of property, the killing or maiming or other crimes against Ethiopians in the border lands under the pretext of containing “terrorism, banditry” and other illegal activities. As far as we know, residents of the affected lands are peaceful farmers and other Ethiopian citizens whose human rights are protected under international law.

EBAC believes that neither the government of the Sudan nor the TPLF has any right to displace or forcibly evict Ethiopian citizens from their ancestral lands.

EBAC calls on you and your government to take a stand now and defend Ethiopia’s national unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Finally, on behalf of Ethiopia’s 105 million citizens, including more than 4 million in the Diaspora, the Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee urges you to demand that the government of the Sudan withdraw Sudanese troops, agents and proxies from Ethiopian territory immediately and unconditionally.

EBAC further demands that your government declare publicly that it won’t cede any territory to the Sudanese now or in the future.

EBAC will be relentless in demanding that the Ethiopian people together and Ethiopia’s armed forces never allow Sudanese or other intervention, intrusion or invasion of at any time in the future.

The Ethiopian Parliament
Ethiopia’s Armed Forces
Security Council of the United Nations
The Chairman of the African Union
The International media
Ethiopian opposition parties within and outside Ethiopia

Letter to Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn pdf,