Open Letter to Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
By Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee
December 21, 2017
To: His Excellency President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
December 19, 2017
Dear Your Excellency,
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.
It is worth repeating that, 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 our 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.
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 strongly that it is the responsibility of the government of the Sudan to contribute its due share and 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. It is the sole responsibility of the government of the Sudan under your leadership 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 you 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. Your government’s incursion into Ethiopia at a time when the country is going through a tumultuous time owing to the TPLF’s repressive and oppressive actions against innocent Ethiopians is, in itself unwarranted and unfortunate. Among other adverse consequences is that this latest interference will bring instability and unnecessary confrontation not only between Ethiopia and the Sudan; but also to the entire region.
EBAC trusts that your Excellency will recognize and appreciate the importance of mutual respect of the interests of both countries in preserving peace and stability. Ethiopia’s borders are sacrosanct and non-negotiable.
The Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee (EBAC) 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. EBAC recalls numerous letters addressed to Your Excellency concerning the border situation between Ethiopia and the Sudan. We trust that Your Excellency’s Government has given our letters the serious attention these letters rightly deserve. We urge you to consider this latest communication as serious and frank.
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 that your recent action is unacceptable, dangerous, irresponsible and utterly counterproductive.
EBAC therefore urges you and your government to withdraw your troops immediately; and revert all lands to the legitimate owners, namely, the Ethiopian people. We remind you once again the Wiki Leaks revelations a few years ago that had confirmed beyond any shadow of a doubt that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who was alive then had, on his own accord, handed over a "good chunk" of Ethiopian fertile farmlands to the government of the Sudan. We had said then and repeat it again that this “tribal” leader and his successors have no authority or legitimacy to transfer any land from Ethiopia and Ethiopians to the government of the Sudan regardless of whether the TPLF owes its accession to power to your government or not.
EBAC has no doubt that the TPLF regime will fall. It will be replaced by an inclusive and a truly representative and democratic government. This successor and any future successor government won’t accept the annexation of any Ethiopian territory by the Sudan or any other foreign government. As we pointed out in our letters to you and to international and regional bodies, the TPLF “has no authority to cede any Ethiopian territory without the consent of the people of Ethiopia."
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. Social and other media is replete with the uproar and outrage that you and your government must also acknowledge and respect.
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.
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 withdraw Sudanese troops, agents and proxies from Ethiopian territory immediately and unconditionally.
EBAC further demands that all lands annexed or claimed by the Sudanese government revert back to Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people.
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.
Excellency, Mr. António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations
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