It is with the utmost sense of gravity and urgency that we communicate this Open Letter to your attention, regarding the pending agreement, due to be signed in Algiers between the regimes in Asmera and Addis Abeba. We welcome the end of the fratricidal conflict and we countenance the attainment of just, genuine and durable peace. We are. however, gravely concerned that the agreement fails to address the critical issues underlying the conflict in a fair, equitable and lasting manner and that, as such, it will only serve to postpone rather than prevent future conflicts in the region.
We represent various Ethiopian political parties, civic organizations and concerned citizens within the country and abroad. It was a week ago that the news of the impending signing surfaced in the media, and only a few days ago that the "text" of the 47-articles agreement was made public by the EPLF regime of Eritrea. We are, therefore, writing these lines after having perused the said material. We should also note that for at least the past couple of years, many Ethiopians in all walks of life inside and outside the country, have tried to reason with the TPLF rulers in Addis Abeba, raising critical issues with regard to the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict.We believe that the conflict should be resolved in a just manner to benefit the peace, security and development of Ethiopians and Eritreans and the region of the Horn as well. Unfortunately, the TPLF regime has chosen to ignore such civil pleas, caveats and concerns. What follows is in effect a summary of our longstanding views which were refreshed and summarized through an urgent worldwide teleconference session by representatives of concerned organizations and individuals today.
For these and many more reasons we could have delved into and despite its legal technicalities and international participation, the impending Ethiopia-Eritrea, set to be signed in Algiers on 12 December 2000, is fundamentally flawed and manifestly inimical to the interests of the Ethiopian people. We, therefore, protest its signing and imposition on the peoples of the region short of their expressed will through genuinely free and fair national debates. We find it especially tragic that some international bodies and governments are giving veneers of legitimacy to the actions of the dictatorial Asmera and Addis Ababa regimes who are anxious to sign this agreement to "legitimize" and formalize the forcible secession of Eritrea they effected in 1991-93. The international community should not be callous or cavalier to these realities and the attendant consequences to be borne by succeeding generations of residents of the Horn of Africa--as if what has been visited upon them for decades was not enough already. It is not clear to us why so many powers and forces are lauding this unconscionable agreement and in a rush to impose these terms on the regionsomething that would not have been tolerated if the same terms were to be imposed on them.
Ultimately nothing is irreversible or immutable. Still, in this day and age we would have thought that intelligent and well-meaning world leaders and diplomats would have been more sensitive, more equitable and more farsighted when dealing with the problems of others than is reflected here. The outcome of their actions must achieve what they say is to be achieved and not the opposite. The excessive international involvement that has begun in the Horn is fraught with danger. The result could be either a premature departure of third party observers leaving the region to stew in its own juices or an interminable and expanding overstay in the region as in several other conflict areas in the world. The sooner the peoples of the Horn reduce their external dependence and have a handle on their own affairs including their conflicts, the better.
Under the circumstances, it should be clear to allincluding the current rulers of Ethiopia and Eritrea and members and bodies of the international community involved in the affairs of the regionthat the impending 12/12/00 Peace Accord in Algiers between the two regimes is illegitimate and inimical to Ethiopia. As such, it will remain null and void as far as Ethiopians of this and succeeding generations are concerned.
Adopted on Sunday 10 December 2000 at a Worldwide Public Teleconference of Representatives of Ethiopian Civic and Political Organizations, Distinguised Ethiopian Scholars, Former Diplomats and Community Leaders.