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Zmeselo
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Is the EU Working to Create Yet Another Berlin Wall in the Horn of Africa?

Post by Zmeselo » 22 Feb 2021, 04:34

Is the EU Working to Create Yet Another Berlin Wall in the Horn of Africa?

The EU is in a critical juncture in the Horn of Africa

By: Hizbawi Menghisteab

22 February 2021



As recently as February 8, 2021, in a Joint-Statement by High-Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell, Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen and Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, the European Union (EU) expressed its concern on the on-going Law and Order Enforcement Operation in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia. The statement was based on unverified allegations and it serves neither bringing peace and stability to Ethiopia and the wider region of Horn of Africa nor addresses the root causes of the conflict and dangerous consequences it could have spilled to the peoples of the Horn of Africa had the attack by TPLF forces on the Federal Army went according to plan. But above all, such unfounded claim could once again be a cause to erect a ‘Berlin Wall’ to the new promising era of peace, stability, economic cooperation and integration of the countries of the region and tear down the new hope and excitement felt since 2018 for the first time in two decades by the millions of people of the Horn, who just shattered a ‘Berlin Wall’ that was standing tall from 1998-2018 between the countries of the region and constantly causing instability and fear of war, mutual mistrust, separating families, chocking economic growth of the region, exposing millions to poverty and hunger.

The series of events unfolded in 2018 in the Horn of Africa, were true landmarks to turn the ugly chapter in the history of the Horn of Africa. In April 2018, after waves of popular uprising and protest against the ‘Hitlerian’ rule of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) engulfed the country for over six months, a young reformist leader, Abiy Ahmed, came to power. One of his brave and hallmark of his nascent leadership was to announce the acceptance of both the Algiers Agreement signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia in December 2000 and the ‘final and binding’ verdict of the Eritrean-Ethiopian Border Commission (EEBC) of April 2002 unconditionally, which until that time the TPLF-led Ethiopia was refusing to honor both, while Eritrea publicly expressed its unconditional acceptance and commitment to Algiers Agreement for 18 years and the latter for 16 years. According to the Algiers Agreement, enforcing the implementation of the “final and binding decision” of the EEBC was the responsibility of mainly the four powers who signed as witnesses and guarantors, of which EU was one of them (USA, UN & OAU being the others). However, after the “final and binding decision” of the EEBC was announced, TPLF rejected to honor the internationally recognized lawful conclusion of the border dispute and its obligation under the Algiers Peace Agreement. The EU, with its partner, the US, opted not to exercise its responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the ruling and peaceful ending of the suffering of millions people of the region. In that critical period the EU stood on the wrong side of history, and it will not only be remembered in the annals of history as such, but will also be responsible for the ‘no peace-no war’ situation that ensued for so long, draining the two countries’ economic resource, young productive force, missed opportunities in terms of economic growth and the prolonged suffering of millions of people. The effects of the ‘no peace-no war’ situation to both Eritrea and Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa region was and still is no less than that of the Berlin Wall, which divided not only Germany, but also Europe physically and ideologically from 1961-1989. The resistance of the peoples of the Horn of Africa, particularly Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, to the TPLF, also supported by deliberate negligence and willful actions of the EU, US and other actors, finally led to the downfall of not only the minority regime in Ethiopia, but also the perpetual hate, division, conflict and mutual mistrust orchestrated and installed by TPLF. For some regional and international observers, the series of events happened in 2018 since Abiy took power - the hopes restored, the families reunited (which were separated by TPLF erected wall of hate, division and mistrust) - were reminiscent of and equivalent to the events witnessed in Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was indeed one of the darkest histories of the 20th century Europe, as it represents hate, fear, displacement and separation of families, mutual mistrust and economic stagnation of Europeans East of the wall. So was the ‘Berlin Wall’ of the Horn of Africa one of the darkest periods of the region in the 21st century.



After the fall of the TPLF-erected ‘Berlin Wall’ of the Horn of Africa, the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed visited Eritrea in July 2018, for the first time any Ethiopian Prime Minister to do so in over 20 years. Hundreds of thousands Eritreans lined the streets of Asmara and accorded warm welcome to Abiy and his delegation. Asmara has never witnessed such a huge crowd of people, coming out to welcome any foreign leader visiting the country. The rapturous reception by the Eritrean people and Government to the Ethiopian PM and the ‘Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship Agreement’ signed between the leaders of both countries on July 9, 2018 marked the fall of the ‘Berlin Wall’ of the Horn of Africa and equally heralded the dawn of new era full of hope, optimism and bright future for both peoples and the region. A week later, President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea also reciprocated the visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 14, 2018, for the first time in over 20 years. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians crowded the streets of the capital city to welcome President Issaias and his delegation. It was the biggest crowd ever Addis Ababa has seen to welcome a foreign leader, even bigger than the crowd came out to welcome the return of Emperor Haileselassie to Ethiopia in 1941 from exile after the British defeated the Italians. Soon after, flights between the two capital cities resumed, land borders opened and people started to cross freely, families separated for over 20 years reunited, displaced people and refugees started to return to their homes to start normal life again, and cross border trade picked up fast. The positive externality and peace dividend of the new era of peace and friendship between Eritrea and Ethiopia, went beyond the borders of the two countries and begun to bring in Somalia and South Sudan and Sudan. The people of Horn of Africa, for the first time in their modern history ever, started to look to the bright future ahead in unison.

However, as the Eritrean proverb runs “Zeragi enkelo tsuruy may neyste’’ (roughly translated as ‘Where there is a spoiler, one hardly drinks clean water.’), the TPLF, which willfully sidelined and self-isolated, begun to be a wedge to the peace process between Eritrea and Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa. Not only openly and officially declared it doesn’t accept the Algiers Peace Agreement and the final and binding EEBC verdict, but also begun massive military preparation for war against the Federal Government. TPLF funded media outlets, both online and TVs, started to mushroom fast inside Tigray and in Diaspora. Filled with open provocative messages and ethnic hatred, they worked day and night to poison the fresh air of hope, optimism and enthusiasm. Domestic terrorist groups, either directly linked to or funded by TPLF, such as ‘Samri’ (local youth directly organized, trained and equipped by TPLF, who are, according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, responsible for the Mai-Kadra massacre of over 700 ethnic Amharas), OLF-Shene (according to the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of Ethiopia, responsible for many terrorist acts and civilian deaths) and armed groups in Benshangul Gumuz region (according to Ethiopian Human Rights Commission responsible for the death of 200 civilians in December 2020 and another over 80 in January 2021 in Metekel), went on a spree of ethnic-based killings. During his speech to the Ethiopian Parliament at the end of November 2020, PM Abiy Ahmed described that over the past two and half years of his tenure in office, there were 113 ethnic based conflicts orchestrated by the TPLF. He said that,
all those conflicts were financed and supported by the TPLF to create the impression that the new administration is weak.
In terms of regional distribution, there were 37 conflicts in Oromia Regional State, 23 conflicts in Amhara, 15 in Benishangul-Gumuz, 14 in Addis Ababa, 7 in Gambella, 3 in Afar, 3 in Dire Dawa, 2 in Sidama, and 2 in Harrari as well as other areas. The logic behind the TPLF’s evil policy of inciting and fomenting ethnic based violence is simple - to reap apart Ethiopia through ethnic-based violence and undermine the credibility of Abiy Ahmed and his reformist Government and in the process, using the violence as a vehicle to return to power.



For the last almost 76 years since the end of World War II, the Horn of Africa has seen massive loss of life, destruction and displacement and migration of millions of its population due to unabated wars and natural disasters, like famine and drought. The absence of peace and stability in the region for such a long period means, the natural right to live and the dreams for a better life, economic development and prosperity of the millions of its inhabitants were stolen. Consecutive generations of children and youth were denied their opportunity for better education and better standard of life. As a result they ended up in poverty, which in turn push them to easily get exploited and manipulated for destructive agendas. Economic growth stagnated, resulting to one of the poorest regions in the world. However, the region is naturally endowed and it not poor. So, it has huge potential to be one of the most productive and economically prosperous regions. But if it is to realize its potential, it undoubtedly needs peace and stability. For peace and stability to be a reality, one condition must be met - the unnecessary and undesirable external interference, which are the main drivers of the vicious cycle of conflicts of the region, must stop.

For so long, the Horn of Africa has been the theatre of super powers muscle flexing. The big powers rivalry in the Horn of Africa right after the end of WWII, was directly responsible for the 30 years war of independence fought by Eritreans from 1961 to 1991 against Ethiopia as well as the Ethio-Somalia War of 1977-78. In the last 30 years since Eritrea’s independence, those big power unconstructive interferences in the internal affairs of the countries of the region has not subsided either. Especially, since the Ethio-Eritrea border war in 1998-2000, the region has been the victim of hasty statements and decisions of the EU, US and other international actors with devastating and far-reaching consequences. Such statements, which scapegoat one side, especially Eritrea as witnessed time and again in the past over 22 years, served as a precursor to unjustifiably punish the innocent governments and reward the epicenter of all the conflicts and instabilities, none other than the TPLF, which wrecked havoc of unprecedented scale and magnitude to our region. Simplest case in point is imposing sanctions on Eritrea in December 2009 based on unfounded allegations, while on the contrary pumping billions of dollars in the name of aid to the TPLF-led Ethiopia, which until TPLF-dominated government was removed from power by popular uprising in April 2018 continued to renegade from implementing the Eritrean-Ethiopia Border Commission’s (EEBC) verdict. Those kinds of misguided policies and silence of the Western Powers in the face of political adventurism of the TPLF only encouraged more defiance of international laws and norms by the same group, that in turn led to a myriad of calamities in the Horn of Africa. The two examples in the above – failing to enforce the EEBC decision of April 2002 and imposing sanction on Eritrea in 2009 based on false allegations – clearly prove that the EU’s policy in the Horn of Africa of the last 20 years has not been balanced, based on inclusive and constructive engagement with all governments of the region equally, but one that rather fosters a small group which its core political mantra is “rule by ethnic division”, incite and fuel conflicts and instability to survive at the expense of the people of Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa region.

EU’s founding principles are peace, unity, harmony, political and economic cooperation and integration. Its impressive economic integration process over the last 63 years was only made possible due to enduring peace of the six founding members, which served as the nucleus of the big dream. The success of the six founding members of the European Economic Community in their economic cooperation and the rapid economic growth it brought, appealed more and more neighboring states to join the block. The deep economic cooperation led to the creation of a single market, which further fostered economic interdependence; as a result it avoided major conflicts between the states. Similarly, for the countries of the Horn of Africa to achieve economic growth, they need peace. And to attain durable peace in the region, the countries of the region must cooperate to avoid anti-peace forces and situations. Eritrea and Ethiopia are partners and the nucleus of the peace, friendship and hope for development emerging in the Horn of Africa. Therefore, the EU and other powers should support the two countries and play their positive role through constructive engagement with both governments in order to bùttress their efforts for successful economic cooperation and in the long run economic integration. Engaging the countries of the region in general and Eritrea in particular, which has been at the receiving end of unjustified hostility and unverified allegations for many years, in good faith will be huge step to the right direction. Because, Eritrea is hugely important and constructive partner in the strategic region. Otherwise, in the post-TPLF era, pointing fingers and singling out one country for punitive measures is an out-dated approach and futile at best. At this very promising time for the Horn of Africa, harming one country is not only harming the other one but also killing the dream for peace, friendship, prosperity and development of the around 190 million population of Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Djibouti. It also harms not only EU interest, but also world peace as well as international trade and commerce.



The Horn of Africa is in a very critical historical period, or in its critical juncture. How it sails out from the rough challenges of this critical juncture, will define the future of the region for generations to come. All the major factors and events unfolding in the region for the past almost three years indicate the region can break the cycle of conflict, instability, economic stagnation and poverty. This prospective and exciting future ahead is evident in the initial cooperation and consultation of the leaders of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia in many fields and the mutual trust and confidence to each other. At this critical juncture, the countries of the region need positive and constructive engagement of the big powers, not an approach on the part of the EU that hints there is a desire to bring back yet another ‘Berlin Wall’ to the Horn of Africa. If the Horn of Africa missed the opportunity to break from the ages-old vicious cycle, then its consequence will obviously endanger world peace, stability and international trade and commerce. Therefore, it is high time now that the EU, US and others reflect on the consequences of their past mistakes and redeem themselves if they really want to engage constructively with the countries and peoples of the region in the new post-TPLF era and gain the trust of the victims of their past fatal policies. When it comes to the Horn of Africa region in general, Eritrea and Ethiopia in particular, the EU and other big powers are in their critical juncture too. What do these countries want and desire to see in the Horn of Africa - a region that is in peace and stability with itself and as a result economically prosperous region that plays its role in fighting many global challenges? Or they want to build yet another Berlin Wall in the Horn of Africa that will prolong the conflicts and instability, death of innocent children and women, massive displacement and migration crisis, economic stagnation, destruction of infrastructure and property, a region that breeds terrorist groups who can target Western interests anywhere? The weight of history is on the EU and its partners either to witness the consequence of yet another Berlin Wall in the Horn of Africa or a region similar to theirs, which is peaceful and economically interconnected where its people live with a better standard of life.
Last edited by Zmeselo on 22 Feb 2021, 06:10, edited 3 times in total.

Zmeselo
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Re: Is the EU Working to Create Yet Another Berlin Wall in the Horn of Africa?

Post by Zmeselo » 22 Feb 2021, 04:46



A reply from the Ethiopian Ambassador to the press release by Honorable Congresswomen Ilhan Omar ⁦⁦⁦@Ilhan on February 19, 2021, regarding the situation in Ethiopia.

Zmeselo
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Posts: 23373
Joined: 30 Jul 2010, 20:43

Re: Is the EU Working to Create Yet Another Berlin Wall in the Horn of Africa?

Post by Zmeselo » 22 Feb 2021, 05:00






Office of the President, Ethiopia: @POEthiopia

Zmeselo
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Joined: 30 Jul 2010, 20:43

Re: Is the EU Working to Create Yet Another Berlin Wall in the Horn of Africa?

Post by Zmeselo » 22 Feb 2021, 14:21

A Response to the Smear against Eritrean Defence Forces by a member of the Interim Cabinet of Tigray.

By Haile Habtegaber –Nederlandse Eirtrese Gemeenschaap

My indignation and astonishment at the false and defamatory statement against the gallant Eritrean Defence Forces by the so named Abraha Desta, a member of the Interim Cabinet of Tigray was sky high. This is not because such malicious statements from the Tigrean political elites are uncommon, but because this comes from a person who is supposed to be a better alternative to the TPLF - now accessible in archival material. One would expect that the removal of the ever roguish TPLF, would usher in an era of trustworthy and forward looking leadership in Tigray. But alas, how he excelled his fellow TPLF elites in being disposed to lying and disinformation. What can be more reckless, irresponsible and above all a vivid manifestation of dishonesty and lack of integrity? And the problem here is that when liars are put in position of authority, it is an immense risk to bestow confidentiality and trust on them simply because liars can’t be trusted. Clearly this is one area where the prime minister of Ethiopia has to seriously draw his attention to, during this transition period. Can these people be trusted? The omens are not encouraging, to say the least.

Ayte Abraha asserts that
there are now 4.5 million people in Tigray, in need of emergency food assistance. This means 64% of the total population (Google 2020 puts Tigray population at 7,070,260) is food aid dependent, at this point in time. I suspect, the purpose of this inconceivable story is to play the role of victim by moaning and indulging in self-pitying. Veracity, is another victim here.

But what is profoundly and disgracefully astounding is the allegation that most of these people have been made food aid dependent, because the Eritrean Defence Forces have robbed them of their food supplies. Furthermore, according to Ayte Abraha, the Eritrean Defence Forces also looted all the properties of the population including household utensils such forks and spoons. To heap more malice, this man also contemptuously alleges that Eritrean Defence Forces have committed atrocities of murder and killings not to mention the deliberate and wanton destruction of properties. What a dishonest person, he is!

Let us now pause for a moment and ask why this fellow is lying so shamelessly and spouts malicious fallacies with, "Lies, damned lies, and statistics".

First and foremost, this man harbours hidden designs on Eritrea’s sovereignty. As an executive member of Arena - a pathetic party that dreams of acquiring access to the Eritrean Red Sea by possessing the Eritrean Port of Aseb- he is positioning himself to be one of the vanguards, in this futile agenda. We are aware, that Arena and other inconsequential Ethiopian parties entertain the conception of forming a political coalition and promote this contemptuous and hopeless Aseb agenda in their program manifesto.

Secondly, he also is positioning himself and his party as the guarantor and the forefront promoter of the interest of Tigray by dishonestly depicting Eritrea as enemy of the people of Tigray. The purpose, is to make Eritrea a scapegoat for self-created misery and become - a Tigrean hero! He thinks by pushing this corrupt immoral act, his party will outmanoeuvre the other parties and win the hearts and minds of the people of Tigray. What an evil mind set!

Thirdly, this sustained campaign of incriminating Eritrea by the Tigrean politicians and activists also indicates a design to compensate for the harm and crime that the Tigray body politic committed against Eritrea during the past 20 plus years. I say to these Tegaru, veracity and falsehood are not equivalents. But one would wonder whether this matters to you, after all.

Fourthly and even more fundamental, the man shows a serious deficit of ‘’trustiness’’. His allegation of the crimes and atrocities committed by the Eritrean Defence Forces, is a deliberate disinformation. He knows his allegations are nothing, but literally untrue and unsubstantiated. The false and defamatory statements against the Eritrean Defence Forces, do not define the traits and character of the Eritrean armed forces. If anything, the Eritrean Defence Forces can be praised for their ironclad discipline, stoicism, bravery, decency and gallantry. The ‘000’s of Ethiopian soldiers taken prisoners by the Eritrean fighters during the liberation struggle can confirm and bear witness how they were treated and cared for years, until they were set free on their own free will. .

Here is now the challenge and the logical action that Ayte Abraha Desta MUST undertake, to help the victims of his allegation. To reach to the bottom of the issue, the accuser Ayte Abraha Desta, MUST produce the incriminating evidence for his allegations. He must provide concrete evidence, which can be subjected to investigation by an independent body:

• Where the alleged acts took place-the exact locations

• When the actions happened – specific dates and details

• Amount of food supplies looted and number of households directly affected

• Details of all properties looted; including forks and spoons which the victims used to eat their spaghetti and other delicacies!

• Number of rape victims, murdered people including burial places, documentary material.

The nature of the crimes he asserts should merit verification by an independent investigator to produce credible material evidence permissible in court of law, if he has the spine to pursue the matter legally. He cannot get away with having made such baseless, slanderous and malicious accusations. As Head of the Tigray Regional State Interim Administration Bureau of Social Affairs, it is incumbent upon him that the truth and actual truth in respect of what he alleged should come to light. Short of that, I say put up or shut up!

Furthermore, I want to make some general observation as to why people the likes Ayte Abraha- an academician at that- are disposed to deliberately lie? Why do people who call themselves Drs, (Phd) professors or lecturers wilfully buy into fake news and disinformation? What has happed to the feeling of shame and embarrassment of these people? After all, such people are highly educated and literate. But, how come that approval of falsehood permeates their characters? Unhappily, this has become a big problem of our digital age.

Sadly also, a number of Eritreans in the diaspora- most of whom who could be categorized as in the above- seem to be afflicted with this disease. Take for instance the names of the individuals in the link below, who signed an open letter https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... spwaorgans in respect of the allegations of Eritrean Defence Forces involvement in the conflict in Tigray. They include, individuals with diverse and high level professional background. What is also very remarkable here, is the fact that some of them were liberation fighters. Evidently, they know more than anybody else about the personality and behaviour as well as the training regimen and discipline members of the Eritrean Defence Forces have to undergo.

Decency and civility are the words that would resonate with the Eritrean Defence Forces; never mind their bravery and military exploits. However driven and blinded as they are by their agenda of regime change, this group of Eritrean elites are prepared to undermine the national interest of Eritrea by incriminating and demonizing our armed forces with no evidence whatsoever. This is an unforgivable act of betrayal of national interest and cause. It is telling, that those who should have been more sceptical are even more tenacious of the deliberate malicious allegations. I reason, that these people are not duped. They are doing this calculatingly, for a political end and much less for their concern of human rights violations. Clearly, people who determinedly lie are not bothered by such kind of repugnant behaviour.

In conclusion, let me share with the reader the following remarks:

• Telling lies, desensitizes ones brain and enhances immunity to lies and self-contradictory information. Eventually, it becomes normal and acceptable

• Telling lies, makes one immune to the feeling of guilt or shame

• Succumbing to lies, also promotes dysrationalia – loss of rational thinking

• For a significant part of the elite Tegaru, lying seems to be an element of their core national value. This is not only unfortunate, but extremely detrimental malpractice. It will seriously undermine the standing and reputation of the Tigrean population, vis-à-vis the wider Ethiopian society. As long as the spreading of the baseless allegations continue, the negative impression the rest of Ethiopians develop will be cemented. Perceptions, are not easy to dust off!

I want to close by stating that the slanderous allegation of Abraha Desta and other Tegaru politicians, resonates neither with the general and collective Eritrean population’s nature nor with the highly disciplined and civilized Eritrean Defence Forces values and operational manners. But unfortunately, our revered forces have become victims of the cruel and reprehensible narration of crime by digital Tigray and its hypocritical western journalists to cover the humiliating defeat and crisis. We have witnessed war is not a traditional game of Tigray, as we were told. War is destructive, human driven, hellish enterprise and at the end of it delivering a humbling humiliation to the losing party. The interest and wellbeing of Tigray is best served, when Tegaru do deep and honest self - appraisal and cease the fruitless false narration against Eritrea. Tegaru should foster their language and culture, history and align their unique identity with rest of Ethiopia sharing a common destiny. Blaming innocent and peace loving Eritrea, will neither promote Tigray’s cause nor will be this be consequential to Eritrea. Confident Eritrea, looks forward without forgetting the harm and crime committed against her. Working for mutually beneficial cooperative relationship between the two countries, will foster development and peaceful co-existence in the Horn region.

I reckon that with time, the truth will come out and exonerate our armed forces. As the writer Jonathan Swift in his essays on the rapid spread of political lies observes:
Falsehood flies and the truth comes after limping.
What a fitting observation!

Long Live Eritrea Libre and Eternal Glory to Our Martyrs.





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