Large Demonstration held by Eritreans in the UK (02 May 2012)

posted 3 May 2012, 22:53 by D Woldeab   [ updated 4 May 2012, 01:13 ]

On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the international ruling made by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, British-Eritreans and Friends of Eritrea held a demonstration in London on Monday 30th April 2012 outside the office of the Prime Minster, No. 10 Downing Street.

Ethiopia’s Attack Against Eritrea: A Reckless Act (Press Release 17 March 2012)

posted 19 Mar 2012, 07:36 by D Woldeab   [ updated 19 Mar 2012, 07:41 ]

On March 15, 2012, the Ethiopian Government announced that it had launched an attack deep inside Eritrean territory in a purported retaliation to the abduction and killing of tourists in the Afar region by rebels that they claim are supported by Eritrea.

 In 2007, the Ethiopian Government had accused Eritrea of direct involvement in the abduction of five Europeans and thirteen Ethiopians by the same group.  Nevertheless, an American diplomatic cable confirmed that not only did Eritrea have nothing to do with the kidnapping, but it in fact played an active role in securing the release of the hostages. The American Ambassador in Eritrea wrote that he had no ‘basis for believing Eritrea either ordered or orchestrated the kidnapping’. The ambassador further stated:

 “The GSE (Government of the State of Eritrea) played a facilitating role in the release of the European abductees and for that the British, French, and Italian Ambassadors are all grateful.”

 The Ethiopian government continues to blame Eritrea for all the ills in Ethiopia based on fabricated evidence. This fabricated evidence then becomes the basis for the UN to impose unfair and unjust sanctions against Eritrea, including an arms embargo. While Eritrea has its hand tied behind its back as a result, Ethiopia is attacking with impunity and flagrant violation of the UN Charter. The UN Security Council is violating Eritrea’s right to self-defence as guaranteed by Article 51 of the UN Charter.

 AGE deplores the fact that there has been no condemnation of Ethiopia’s reckless action whatsoever. The UN, US, EU and others have released statements calling on both countries to show maximum restraints, essentially equating the victim and perpetuator in an attempt to appeal to a perverted sense of fairness. These statements undermine the prospects of peace and are a serious abdication of responsibility on the part of the international community. The Ethiopian government is committing such flagrant aggression knowing full well that its dangerous and irresponsible actions will be tolerated and even excused as has been happening for over a decade. 

 Ten years after the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission delivered its verdict, Ethiopia still occupies sovereign Eritrean territories by force and in violation of international law.  The UN Security Council and guarantors of the agreement have, to this day, refused to shoulder their responsibility of enforcing the final and binding verdict of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission. As a result of their inaction, Ethiopia remained intransigent and continues to cause great turmoil in our region. On the contrary, in what can only be described as a bizarre miscarriage of justice, the UN Security Council was quick to impose sanctions against Eritrea on dubious grounds and unsubstantiated evidence.     

 For the sake of peace and security in the region and the reinforcement of justice and the law as a basis of civilised behaviour of nations, we call upon the UN Security Council to condemn and reprimand Ethiopia for its aggression against a UN Member State and to call for Ethiopia to unreservedly implement the final and binding Algiers agreement. The silence of the UN Security Council as well as the wider international community has encouraged the Ethiopian Government to continue with its highly dangerous and provocative adventure that will only bring instability in the Horn of Africa. We strongly believe that the consequences of this instability will not only bring death and destruction to the people of our region but its effects will be felt well beyond the Horn region. It is therefore in the interest of everyone that the UN and the world send a strong message to Ethiopia to cease and desist warmongering in the Horn of Africa and withdraw from Eritrean territory.

 We also wish to commend the Eritrean Government for the restraint it has shown in the face of such provocative action and we hope that it continues to exercise maximum restraint.

 We call upon Eritreans worldwide to be vigilant and prepared for any eventuality to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Eritrea that was brought about and continues to be safeguarded by heavy sacrifice.


AGE Deplores UNSC Resolution 2023 (Press Release - 14 December 2011)

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:53 by D Woldeab

Following an extraordinary meeting of its board members on 11 December 2011, the Action Group for Eritrea (AGE) has hereby resolved to issue this press release in response to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2023 of 5 December 2011 against the State of Eritrea.
 
Aware of the political pull and push factors within the Security Council, including the economic and political motives of some members of the Security Council;
 
Convinced that unfair and unjust sanctions will only make the volatile regional situation worse and that those whose rights will be abused as a result of the sanctions will rise to defend themselves as Eritrea’s history of the last 60 years testifies;
 
Bearing in mind the repeated historic abuse that the people of Eritrea have been subjected to in the hands of the United Nations Security Council;
 
Cognizant that the Somalia series of crises will not be solved by alienating Eritrea;
 
Reassured that Eritrea is neither interested nor able to destabilise Somalia, much less to the extent that it stands accused of, and having found no credible evidence in the report of the Eritrea Somalia Monitoring Group to suggest that Eritrea is responsible for any of the accusations leveled;
 
Establishing that the allegations against Eritrea are baseless and fabricated and taking note of:
 
a)       the statement made by the Russian Ambassador that the Security Council was not given sufficient proof of Eritrea’s alleged plot to attack the African Union summit in Addis Ababa and that they were not impressed by the content of the Monitoring Group....and to include such grave accusation with no special information is not a “proper attitude”.
b)       the statement of South African Ambassador to the UN that the Monitoring Group report was inconclusive.
 
Agreeing with the hints given by the South African Ambassador to the UN that the Monitoring Group did not execute its responsibilities and mandate with “professionalism, impartiality and objectivity” and that the Group could have been influenced by “political considerations outside their mandate”;
 
Taking note of the statement made by the UN Ambassador to China with respect to the rush to vote which led to the resolution failing “to reflect major and legitimate concerns” and the immaturity and lack of diligent adherence to legal process;
 
Recalling that the Monitoring Group made false allegations against Eritrea in the past, including the accusation of Eritrea sending 2000 army personnel to Somalia, which were later proved to be false and the fact that the UN Sanctions Committee has identified Ethiopia and AMISON as the sources of 80% of the weapons under the control of Somali insurgents;
 
Thankful to Wikileaks for revealing the statements made by American diplomats and others which include:
 
a)       the blatant hostility of the US government towards Eritrea
b)       that the Eritrean involvement in Somalia was “insignificant” and “not critically important”,
c)       bombs that exploded in the Djibouti Railway Line and Addis Ababa could be the work of the Ethiopian government,
d)       confirmed the existence of the “long arm of Ethiopia” behind the sanctions initiatives
e)       Ethiopia’s encouragement of Djibouti to escalate the already resolved border issue between Eritrea and Djibouti and the call by the French for international community to defuse the situation and not agitate Djibouti further;
 
Knowing full well that Ethiopia is the prime source of instability in the whole region as attested by its invasion of Somalia and continued illegal occupation of Eritrean territory and recognising that Ethiopia is the main architect of the lies and misrepresentation made against Eritrea to cover its crime;
 
Noting that Eritrea was denied its right guaranteed under the UN Charter to be heard and to defend itself, and that the Eritrean President’s request to speak in front of the Security Council was for all practical purposes turned down;
 
Convinced that the sanctions were pushed with the sole intention of weakening Eritrea militarily and crippling its economy to subject the people of Eritrea to abject misery and poverty;
 
Concerned by UNSC’s failure to force Ethiopia to accept and implement the final and binding verdict of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission;
 
Troubled also by UNSC’s neglect of its responsibility to pressure Ethiopia to comply with UN Security Council resolutions expressly forbidding military involvement of frontline or neighboring states in Somalia;
 
Shocked by the drama surrounding the rush to punish Eritrea and the way in which neighbouring countries were unashamedly paraded and made to gang up against a small nation to present their cases in what can only be described as a Kangaroo Court;
 
Appalled by the blatant abuse of power and the vengeful character exhibited by the American Ambassador, Dr. Susan Rice, to victimise the people of Eritrea;
We hereby,
 
Reject the sanctions in its entirety as lacking due process, as being based on unsubstantiated allegations and devoid of any sense of justice or fairness;
 
Condemn the UNSC for allowing itself to be used as an instrument for individual envoys and their countries to settle old scores or promote selfish political agenda and for failing in its duty to protect a small nation against unjustified hostility in direct contradiction of its Charter;
 
Condemn the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group for producing an unprofessional report that lacks credible evidence and objectivity, and calls on the Security Council to appoint new independent group of experts with credibility and integrity;
 
Deplore the reckless and irresponsible action of the US Ambassador, Dr. Susan Rice, in bringing the UNSC into disrepute for no other reason but to avenge a personal grudge against the President of Eritrea;
 
Call on members of the Security Council to uphold the very principles that the United Nations was created for;
 
Call on members of the Security Council to compel Ethiopia to accept and implement the verdict of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission and withdraw its forces from sovereign Eritrean territory;
 
Call on the government of Eritrea to take appropriate measures to further strengthen the unity of the Eritrean people to challenge such blatant miscarriage of justice;
 
Express our readiness to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people and government of Eritrea to    defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Eritrea that is rooted in our heavy sacrifices;
 

Injustice is No Drama (Yohannes Kifle)

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:53 by D Woldeab

Inner City Press asked Susan Rice, “What is the US Mission position is on Eritrea’s President’s request to speak to the Security Council? Several Council members I have spoken with support the request, and not only if all of Eritrea’s neighbors are also included in the particular session. What is the US position and why?”

According to Inner City Press, five hours later US Ambassador Susan Rice stopped to answer when Inner City Press asked “Is the US against the idea of the President of Eritrea briefing the Council?” Her response was, “We had the foreign ministers come in July. That was sufficient drama for my taste. I think if one comes they will all come. I am not sure what we will hear that’s much different. I think any time you bring together leaders at that level with the degree of tension that exists between them; it is not going to promote improved relations or greater peace and stability. So I think we have to be very cautious about it and thoughtful about it.”

The latest agenda on the Security Council’s table is the looming sanction on Eritrea for allegedly supporting Al-shabaab. This most recent accusation against Eritrea may be a drama to Susan Rice; nevertheless, no Eritrean in his or her right mind thinks that this baseless accusation should be treated as one. The perpetuation of this false allegation has become disturbing and the enemies of Eritrea have made up their minds to stick with their accusation and continue to ride the allegation, for better or worse, as far as it takes them. Over half a century ago, our fathers were robbed their dignities just because they chose to stay free and build their country for their children and grandchildren. On the other hand, those who were in a position to control Eritrea’s fate had something in mind: Independent Eritrea would not fit well with their future world they wanted to create and self-control of the nation. Was Eritrea inconvenient to the world? If so, what was the justification? Of course, Eritrea is situated strategically in the area and those who needed to control it couldn’t afford to let Eritrea out of their reigns due to the nature of the political of post-world war II dynamic. Since then the paradigm had shifted and the world is changing at an alarming pace. Conversely, Eritrea’s enemies are predisposed to think that there is no difference between the old, colonized Eritrea and the new, independent Eritrea. In other words, the struggle to control Eritrea is apparent more than ever. When John Foster Dulles made the statement to justify the reason why Eritrea should be linked with Ethiopia, it was obvious that he was tormented with the fact that Eritreans were not given the chance to be heard. That critical mistake is about to be repeated again after sixty years.

Susan Rice, who is the US Ambassador to the Untied Nations, is anything but cautious and thoughtful in the way she responded to what was asked. Her track record speaks for itself. The current UN Ambassador is the very same Susan Rice who served the Clinton Administration as an assistant secretary of state for African affairs. The vast majority of Eritreans are very familiar with her and with the role she played during the 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. How much of her puerility contributed to the most destructive war in recent memory is a controversial subject. As an Ambassador of the most powerful country on earth, Susan Rice failed to show humility when, in the first place, showing humbleness is what is expected of any diplomat of her caliber. Her response to the questions posed to her by Inner City Press exposed her shameful hidden agenda against Eritrea and her lack of diplomatic aptitude. After thinking about it for five hours, she couldn’t even hide her partiality. One has to wonder if her current position is above her pay grade as the last one was.

Hiding behind Gabon and Nigeria, Susan Rice is pushing for more sanctions. As reported by Inner City Press, Susan Rice thinks the vote should take place and her justification is that Gabon, Nigeria and IGAD members want it. The question is: what about the great nation you are representing, Susan Rice? Remember, the country you are serving believes in fairness. Is this your fight for personal vendetta?

It is the American way for accused person to face his/her accuser. It is the American way for someone to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Don’t you agree, Susan Rice? Why don’t you allow Gabon and Nigeria to face the world and let them present their case? Perhaps, they will be able to articulate their evidence against Eritrea better than you do. Conceivably, they could come up with logical explanations to justify sanction against the people of Eritrea. I think not!

Seemingly, there is no love lost between Susan Rice and the government of Eritrea. Her comments are indicative of her feelings about Eritrea and the leadership of Eritrea. The latest Security Council’s action to sanction Eritrea for allegedly supporting Al-shabaab will certainly damage Eritrea’s economy if Susan Rice can help it and if she is able to achieve her objective.

 

 

The government of Eritrea has sensibly asked to defend itself from the alleged accusation of helping Al-shabaab. Unfortunately, Susan Rice is only worried about what is sufficient for her taste not the truth, which is the most critical subject to Eritrea and its people, including to the region that desperately needs peace. Her desire to block the president of Eritrea from speaking to the Security Council suggests that she has an ax to grind against Eritrea and its people. Sometimes sanction is used as a weapon to force a nation to revolt against its own government. Unfortunately for Susan Rice, the people of Eritrea have demonstrated time and time again that they are behind their president. The latest support to the president of Eritrea was recently unveiled not too far from where the Security Council is presiding over the alleged allegation. Perhaps the Security Council is her best and last option to accomplish her objective. The world is changing in alarming pace and Susan Rice is having a hard time to catch up with the change she is witnessing.

History taught us that what is best for Eritrea is not a priority to the West. It is for that reason the people of Eritrea sent a message to the enemies of Eritrea in unambiguous terms that Eritrea is capable of handling its own affairs be it internal or otherwise. President Isaias Afeworki is insisting a face to face meeting with the Security Council to defend the unfounded allegation of supporting Al-Shabaab; the nation is confident in his ability to make the case. Back in the 1950s, Eritrea was denied the opportunity to speak to the world. Instead, the west and institutions controlled by the west had to decide Eritrea’s fate. What we are presently witnessing is a duplicated effort of what had transpired back in the 1950s. Absurdly, there is a concerted effort to silence Eritrea from speaking the truth. Sadly, Gabon, Nigeria and other countries with skeletons to hide are dragged into this drama as Susan Rice calls it. Gabon and Nigeria are tugged into this quagmire. Perhaps, they are in dilemma as Eritrea is. Nevertheless, that is where the similarity ends.

The truth will be damaging to those who are behind this unfounded allegation against Eritrea. Once again, Eritrea and its people must continue to fight the injustice that is about to take place if Susan Rice is allowed to succeed in her effort to block Eritrea from defending herself. Unlike Susan Rice, Eritreans do not consider the allegation by enemies of Eritrea as a “drama”. Moreover, Eritreans have yet to achieve justice that is sufficient to their taste. Fighting for justice is the Eritrean way. Noticeable injustice is no drama to Eritreans. It is distasteful and must be fought vigorously!

 

Eritrea shall prevail!

 

 

The government of Eritrea has sensibly asked to defend itself from the alleged accusation of helping Al-shabaab. Unfortunately, Susan Rice is only worried about what is sufficient for her taste not the truth, which is the most critical subject to Eritrea and its people, including to the region that desperately needs peace. Her desire to block the president of Eritrea from speaking to the Security Council suggests that she has an ax to grind against Eritrea and its people. Sometimes sanction is used as a weapon to force a nation to revolt against its own government. Unfortunately for Susan Rice, the people of Eritrea have demonstrated time and time again that they are behind their president. The latest support to the president of Eritrea was recently unveiled not too far from where the Security Council is presiding over the alleged allegation. Perhaps the Security Council is her best and last option to accomplish her objective. The world is changing in alarming pace and Susan Rice is having a hard time to catch up with the change she is witnessing.

History taught us that what is best for Eritrea is not a priority to the West. It is for that reason the people of Eritrea sent a message to the enemies of Eritrea in unambiguous terms that Eritrea is capable of handling its own affairs be it internal or otherwise. President Isaias Afeworki is insisting a face to face meeting with the Security Council to defend the unfounded allegation of supporting Al-Shabaab; the nation is confident in his ability to make the case. Back in the 1950s, Eritrea was denied the opportunity to speak to the world. Instead, the west and institutions controlled by the west had to decide Eritrea’s fate. What we are presently witnessing is a duplicated effort of what had transpired back in the 1950s. Absurdly, there is a concerted effort to silence Eritrea from speaking the truth. Sadly, Gabon, Nigeria and other countries with skeletons to hide are dragged into this drama as Susan Rice calls it. Gabon and Nigeria are tugged into this quagmire. Perhaps, they are in dilemma as Eritrea is. Nevertheless, that is where the similarity ends.

The truth will be damaging to those who are behind this unfounded allegation against Eritrea. Once again, Eritrea and its people must continue to fight the injustice that is about to take place if Susan Rice is allowed to succeed in her effort to block Eritrea from defending herself. Unlike Susan Rice, Eritreans do not consider the allegation by enemies of Eritrea as a “drama”. Moreover, Eritreans have yet to achieve justice that is sufficient to their taste. Fighting for justice is the Eritrean way. Noticeable injustice is no drama to Eritreans. It is distasteful and must be fought vigorously!

 

Eritrea shall prevail!

Letter to UNSC members (Action Group for Eritrea - 16 November 2011)

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:52 by D Woldeab

Dear Sir

Re: Sanctions on Eritrea

We write to express our deep concern regarding the draft resolution being circulated at the UN calling for further sanctions against Eritrea.   We are an organization with members from the British Eritrean community and friends of Eritrea aiming to promote peace and development in Eritrea.

Primarily, we believe that an imposition of economic sanctions against Eritrea will have dire consequences on the ordinary people of Eritrea who have already suffered a great deal for far too long.  Eritreans have been victims of war as well as other natural and environmental calamities such as drought in the past and subjecting them to further misery will not only be unethical but also an abuse of their basic human rights to live in peace and prosperity.

Prior to independence, Eritrea was devastated by years of war which led to extensive impoverishment of its people and destruction of vital infrastructure. The country is only now beginning to rebuild and any sanctions will surely destroy the progress it has managed to achieve so far.  While we believe Resolution 1907 (2009) has been unfair, we are therefore deeply concerned by the extent of damaging impact that any additional economic sanctions will have on the encouraging developments that have been achieved in Eritrea during the last twenty years.

Furthermore, Eritrea is well on its way to achieving food security at a time when the whole region is affected by severe famine. Whenever there is a shortfall, Eritrea has been able to import food using its meager hard currency reserve without relying on outside help.  The country has also made great strides in meeting most of the Millennium Development Goals. Education is available in all corners of the country and the number of children attending school has increased significantly.    Child and mother mortality have been slashed and some communicable diseases almost eradicated.  Imposing sanctions against Eritrea will severely affect this progress and its impact will be devastating for the most vulnerable members of the society.

Sanctions on Eritrea will also limit the ability of the country to import basic materials including medicines, agricultural products, machinery, industrial spare parts, fuel and educational materials, etc.  Eritrea’s economy will be so badly damaged because of lowered economic activity, loss of trade partners, decreased export revenue, chronic unemployment and sharp decline in GDP and GNP per capita income.  This will create instability and the economic, social and political repercussions will set the country years back.  

At a time when Eritrea’s territory is occupied by Ethiopia in direct contravention of various UN resolutions and the final and binding ruling of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission, imposing sanctions on Eritrea based on trumped up evidences is a travesty of justice.  Sanctions on Eritrea will not bring peace to the region -   if anything, the action will inflame the fires of conflict that have been raging in our area for a very long time.  Cornering Eritrea based on highly suspect set of evidences will create anger and desperation leading to further regional turmoil which our people can do without.   

History is rife with examples of countries that have been left destitute as a result of sanctions.  All evidences suggest that sanctions never produce positive results and we are of the view that imposing them on Eritrea will literally starve its people and will be seen as a form of wanton violence by the UN aimed at humiliating all Eritreans.    We therefore ask you to consider your actions carefully and understand the agenda behind why some countries are pushing for further and tougher sanctions.

Notwithstanding the above, we are far from convinced that the charges leveled against Eritrea have been substantiated.  The Monitoring Group had accused Eritrea of sending 2000 soldiers to Somalia in 2006 which was later confirmed to be false.  The evidence provided for the accusation that Eritrea was plotting to blow up the AU conference in Addis Ababa would not stand a chance in a court of law.  It has been reported in the past that the Ethiopian government resorts to such acts with a view of incriminating Eritrea for political gain.  A report revealed by Wikileaks has disclosed that the bomb detonated in Djibouti city railway was the work of the Ethiopian government.   The American Ambassador in Ethiopia also revealed that bombs exploded in Addis Ababa could have been planted by Ethiopia’s security forces.  Ethiopia has a vested interest in drumming up such accusations against Eritrea.

Recently, Eritrea has been accused of flying three planeloads of weapons to the Somali town of Baidoa in support of Al Shabab. Again, no evidence has been presented to prove the accusation.  It defies logic how Eritrea could fly three planes crossing the air space of third countries or the Red Sea and avoid interception in a region that is under heavy surveillance by international forces. 

We call upon all Security Council members to hear the plea of Eritreans and their friends across the world to review the case and study the evidences presented very carefully before making any decision.   We appeal to your conscience to allow the people of the region to live in peace and prosperity as justice and fairness dictate that our voices be heard.

We thank you.

Human Rights Watch: British Aid Money Misused by Ethiopia

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:51 by D Woldeab

Open Letter to DFID Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell

We recognise that the Ethiopian government is extremely resistant to scrutiny. Nonetheless, the British government and other donors to Ethiopia should not allow the Ethiopian government to dictate the terms on which British public money is monitored, and every effort should be made to prevent British development aid from strengthening authoritarian rule and repression. William Hague asserted in a recent letter to Human Rights Watch, which was drafted with your involvement, that he takes very seriously allegations of the distortion of aid in Ethiopia. To give effect to this commitment, the British government and its partners within the Development Assistance Group should conduct an independent, impartial, transparent, field-based investigation into allegations of the manipulation of donor funded government services for political purposes.

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British Government: Dialogue not a pre-requisite to initiating demarcation

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:50 by D Woldeab

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to press the Government of Ethiopia to abide by the Independent Boundary Commission's ruling on the demarcation of the border with Eritrea. [71374]
 
Mr Bellingham: The UK Government continue to believe that the Ethiopia-Eritrea border must be demarcated in accordance with the ruling of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission. We are concerned by the lack of progress, which has damaging consequences for Eritrea, Ethiopia and the stability of the wider region. The UK Government have encouraged both sides to engage in dialogue as we believe this could help to move beyond the status quo. We do not consider dialogue to be a pre-requisite to initiating the process of demarcation, however, and we have made clear to the Ethiopian Government the importance of taking practical steps to begin demarcation without further delay. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), raised this issue with Prime Minister Meles when he visited Ethiopia in July, and with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hailemariam when they met in London in June.

UN Monitoring Group Report: Lies, Damn Lies and Distortions (The Action Group for Eritrea – 02 August 2011)

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:49 by D Woldeab

On Christmas Eve in 2009, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposed sanctions against Eritrea, which include an arms embargo, travel restrictions and a freeze on the assets of its political and military leaders.   It is to be recalled that tens of thousands of Eritreans went out in the streets of major cities around the world to oppose the sanctions. Resolution 1907 (2009) against Eritrea remains unjust and unfair for a simple reason that it is built on lies and fabricated stories.  It should have been repealed long ago.

The Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group has finally released its latest report and this one is no better than the previous reports.  It is full of lies, damn lies and distortions.

This is what the Monitoring group reported in its 2006 report:

            "........... On 26 August 2006, three (3) dhows transporting 2000 fully equipped combat troops from Ertirea arrived at Warsheikh, located north of Mogadishu, along the coast. On arrival at Warsheikh, the troops were re-located to an area in north Mogadishu for ultimate re-deployment to different ICU held areas. They were re-deployed as follows: 500 of the Eritrean troops went to Baledogle, 500 to Hilweyne training camp, 500 to Lower Shabelle, and 500 remained in Mogadishu and were stationed at Villa Baidoa and the former Police Academy"

For any layperson, the above sounds very convincing.  It is very specific with dates, numbers, and names of different places.  A professional liar would not find it too difficult to come up with such impressive story giving attention to detail.  The Monitoring Group has made it its job to lie through its teeth to justify their existence and achieve a political agenda.  As the world now knows, the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopian forces proved beyond doubt that the Monitoring Group was not gathering evidence but in fact was busy fabricating them. Not a single Eritrean soldier was located in Somalia.  Judging from their latest report, it seems that they have mastered the art of deception.

The above is just one example out of many.  To this day, the Monitoring Group is yet to admit that they have lied and apologise to the people and government of Eritrea for associating them with terrorism.   It is because of such lies at the behest of other forces that Eritrea is under UN sanctions today.

In a meeting with the British government on 23 December 2009, members of the British Eritrean community had presented the inconsistencies and pure fabrications in the previous report that the Monitoring Group had produced.  In their latest meeting on the 20th of June 2011, representatives of the Eritrean community in London asked if there was any guarantee that the biased and discredited Monitoring Group will ever produce accurate, fair and balanced report.   The British government’s response was that the Group would not want to compromise their credibility and reputation by producing fabricated stories.  Unfortunately, the Monitoring Group has no reputation to keep and they do not seem to have learnt from the past. 

The Monitoring Group has, yet again, managed to produce another report full of unsubstantiated accusations against Eritrea.  To cover the bogus claim, the Monitoring Group has gone to extreme lengths to produce receipts, money transfer and other documents which have little relevance to the accusations.  The aim of bombarding the UNSC with a pile of irrelevant documents and information is to give the report a semblance that it was well researched and evidenced.  The fact of the matter is that the report contains very little verifiable evidence.  Some of the accusations are based on statements not supported by verifiable facts and made by entities that have axes to grind against the government of Eritrea.  They know that no Security Council member is going to go through all these in detail and verify the authenticity and relevance of the documents presented.

If there is one country in the world that fought terrorism tooth and nail since its inception, it is Eritrea. Eritrea has never made civilians a target even in its long history of struggle for independence.  It is unimaginable that Eritrea would target any civilian venues in Addis, let alone the AU Summit.  It is simply unthinkable.

The Ethiopian government has again managed to stage a drama to convince the world that Eritrea is a country that supports terrorism.   The evidence presented to support the accusation that Eritrea was involved in the plot to attack the AU is laughable.

The Monitoring Group claimed that the rifle and explosives captured were traced as being sold to Eritrea by Romania and Bulgaria.  The Ethiopian Government could have captured Eritrean rifles and explosives during the war and perhaps also from Eritrean deserters.  When the whole region is awash with weapons with unknown origins, one would be naive to think that Eritrea would send terrorists to attack the AU with traceable rifle and explosives.  It is an insult to the intelligence of any average person to present such absurd claims.

The Monitoring Group has accepted Ethiopia's claim at face value and had no qualms in copying and pasting their statements.  The Group has claimed to have spent 22 hours in three days interviewing 7 detained members involved in the alleged operation.  That is about 3 to 4 hours each.   With such serious accusations, one would expect that these people would be cross-examined by professionals to corroborate the story.   It would have been easy to find holes and gaps in their story. 

The main actors in the drama are Fecadu, Omar and Mohamed Nur 'Doctor' who are leaders of the three teams dispatched for the operation. These are trained by Eritrean Officers “Gemachew Ayana” (this is not an Eritrean name), Wedi Iyasu and Jamal in various camps in Eritrea. When Omar learned that 'Doctor' was killed and some of his team members captured near Bati in an attack by Ethiopian forces, he suspended the operation and travelled from Metemma to Bati to rescue the team members who survived the attack and fled.  Having met some of the survivors, Omar travelled to Addis Ababa to proceed with the attack on the AU.  However, their plan did not work out and instead they planned to attack two other venues. They transferred the explosives to Fecadu's house in Addis, but Fecadu and his associates were arrested the next day.  As Omar was not able to contact Fecadu, he panicked and transferred his team to different hotels and then to kombolcha, but he still went to Fecadu's house later and found it empty.   He was later arrested on the way to Nazret. What a story!

One would think that any sensible person would try to keep as far away as possible from the scene of the incidents, but Omar seems to take huge risks by travelling to Bati first and then to Fecadu's house knowing that the Ethiopian security services could be well aware of his existence.  They had to dream up a story to get him captured.

The Monitoring Group also claims to be in possession of an audio recording of conservation between Colonel Te'ame and Omar which is said to be independently verified and archived with the United Nations.  The Monitoring Group, however, did not present the contents of the conversation and say whether it is related to the plot.  It is possible that Omar may have spoken to Colonel Te'ame, but this cannot be presented as proof that Eritrea was plotting to attack the AU Summit.    

One of the reasons given as to why the plot to attack AU failed is absurd. In a city that hosts the African Union, this organisation was spared from a devastating attack for a reason that most car hire agencies in Addis would not provide a car without a driver.   How odd. 

The Monitoring Group did not undertake any investigation of its own apart from reviewing the documents provided by the Ethiopian government and the interviews conducted with the captives. There is no incriminating evidence in the story to show that Eritrea was involved in the planning.

On Page 362, there is a copy of "Pages from ONLF fighter's training notebook...".  This is a badly written Amharic diary entry and there is nothing in this that connects the owner of the diary to Eritrea. There are pictures from video footage showing Eritrean license plate in one and Eritrean flag in another.  This again proves nothing of Eritrea’s involvement.

Page 364 of the report contains "Material recovered from ONLF".  On this page, there are pieces of papers from visits to the Asseb Military Hospital.  This was meant to prove that the captured ONLF members were trained in Eritrea.   One of the papers was for certain ‘Hagos Neguse Gebremariam.’   Now, this is pure fabrication as a person with such name cannot be an Ogadeni or Somali in origin.

On Page 85 (# 316), the Monitoring Group claims documentary evidence of Eritrean payment to a number of individuals with links to Al-Shabab.  Amazingly, the report states that these documents were received directly from the Eritrean Embassy in Nairobi.  If Eritrea has anything to hide, why would it provide evidence that would implicate it?  The Monitoring Group has also included receipts to prove that Eritreans have paid money to the Eritrean Embassy in Kenya.  This money could have been paid for any service or transaction.  These again prove nothing.  Eritreans pay money to their Embassies for various valid and legitimate reasons.  The fact that the Eritrean Embassies are issuing valid receipts only goes to show that they have nothing to hide.  

On Page 86 (#317), the Monitoring Group admits that the documentation they have on Eritrea’s financial support to Al-Shabab dates to the year 2008, which is before the imposition of the sanctions.   They have no new evidence.  The report states that the information that Eritrea pays roughly $80,000 per month to Al-Shabab comes from an Eritrean businessman who works with the Eritrean government and has in the past provided reliable information to the Monitoring Group.  We suspect that this Eritrean businessman is the same person that the American Ambassador to Eritrea refers to in documents released by Wikileaks as providing reliable information.  This businessman has confirmed that he has links with the Eritrean opposition and that he would like to see the Eritrean government replaced.  It is absurd that the Monitoring Group would put forward claims made by people who may have a political agenda without any supporting evidence.  The Ethiopian government has released a statement quoting the payment and linking it to the Monitoring Group, knowing full well that this figure has come from someone who may have an axe to grind against Eritrea.  The Monitoring Group has in a typical fashion provided no evidence to substantiate this figure. 

Even if we assume that Eritrea pays Al-Shabab $80,000 a month out of its meagre resources, which amounts to under a million dollars a year, this would only constitute to about 1% of the income that Al-Shabab is claimed to have made in a year.  The Monitoring Group has gone to detail highlighting Al-Shabab’s extensive economic reach and activities.  If this is to be believed, Eritrea’s alleged contribution is peanuts in comparison and it would make no difference to Al-Shabab activities or influence the situation that Somalia is finding itself in.    

The Monitoring Group has tried to tarnish the image of the Eritrean communities across the world.  The Monitoring Group has listed names of ordinary Eritrean citizens who are involved in community activities. The Monitoring Group even got some of the details about these community workers wrong.  They claim that some are being investigated and this can only be considered as a witch-hunt and intimidation.  It is known that there are thousands of Eritrean community activists and they are proud to be serving their community and country. It must be said that Eritreans, like all other communities, have every right to support their families and country legally.  Eritreans are law abiding and productive members of society wherever they go.  People of Eritrean origin in all countries in the world have a right to organise and support their community.  Any attempt to deny them this basic right will no doubt be challenged fiercely.

The report claims that Eritrea makes tens of millions of dollars from various sources including the Eritrea diaspora and then goes to say how the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Eritrea experience a chronic deficit of hard currency.  They have gone to extreme lengths to prove their bogus claims on how such a poor country can manage to finance all these activities.  Eritrea is a poor country that is trying to survive without being dependent on aid.  It has managed to do so for years and logic would dictate that it is a country that should have been encouraged and not abused.  The fact that it has managed to survive without handout only shows that it is using its meagre resources wisely.  It simply would not have been able to meet most of the Millennium Development Goals if it was handing out cash like confetti to every Somali with links to Al-Shabab as the Monitoring Group want us to believe.   

On Page 48 (#148 – 150), the Monitoring Group claims that there have been flights to Somalia reportedly originating from Eritrea as well as return flights from Somalia.  It states that the information has come from two independent sources that a flight made a round trip from Eritrea to Kismaayo in support of Al-Shabab.  They say that they could not independently verify these claims.  If that is the case, then why is it included in the report? Who are these independent sources and how did the Monitoring Group establish that they were independent? How is it possible for Eritrea to send an aircraft to Somalia without being noticed given all the high tech surveillance in the area?  The report has no answers to these basic and simple questions.

On Page 51(#160), the report claims that the 'Government of Ethiopia has long been a sponsor of various authorities and armed groups in Somalia.  The Ethiopian government provided diplomatic, financial and military assistance to a variety of armed groups.   

The report states:

            "At no time, however, has the Government of Ethiopia sought or obtained authorization from the Security Council Committee on Somalia and Eritrea for its support of those groups and it is therefore technically in violation of the general and complete embargo on Somalia."

The crimes that Ethiopia has committed in Somalia need no elaboration as the entire world knows about it.  Many countries including Ethiopia were accused of violating the embargo in the past.  Yet, ironically only Eritrea was targeted for sanctions. Questions need to be asked again why the Security Council is ignoring these violations of the sanctions by other countries while only targeting Eritrea for sanctions, despite the glaring unfounded accusations. 

Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia at the behest of the US government has created a catastrophic situation in Somalia.  It is clear that Eritrea is used as a scapegoat and is targeted to cover up the crimes committed in Somalia.

AMISON and other private companies are also accused of providing arms to insurgents.   Annex 5.5 lists non-compliant states and organisations and these include France, United States, Kenya, Sudan and the UN itself.   AMISON is not only accused of providing arms, but also killing and injuring innocent civilians.  The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia has complained against AMISON and it is stated that some UN officials believe that the attacks against civilians were not 'isolated incidents' carried by 'low level soldiers'.  It is this force that is keeping 'peace' in Somalia.  What a sad state of affairs.

The report states that the 2009 sanctions imposed prohibit “harbouring, financing, facilitating, supporting, organizing, training, or inciting individuals or groups to perpetrate acts of violence or terrorist acts against other States or their citizens in the region”.   While Eritrea is considered to be in breach of the Resolution, simply because it provides base to many Ethiopian armed groups, Ethiopia has formally announced that it will endeavour to achieve regime change in Eritrea by supporting Eritrean opposition groups including known terrorist groups and extremists.  Ethiopia has also announced recently that it is in the process of purchasing 200 T-72 tanks. Despite such incitements, Ethiopia is allowed to go scot free.  With the imposition of the arms embargo, Eritrea has been denied its fundamental rights to defend itself from these armed groups supported by Ethiopia. The British government had stated in a meeting with British Eritreans that it is Eritrea and not Ethiopia which has been sanctioned, and the focus of the Monitoring Group therefore is Eritrea.  This is totally unfair and unjust. 

The report has included details of Eritrea's arms purchase pre 2009.  It also goes into details on Eritrea's military hardware and maintenance agreement while asking questions which clearly infringe on Eritrea's sovereignty and security.   At a time when Eritrea is on a war footing with Ethiopia, providing details of Eritrea’s military capacity can only have one purpose and that is to give Ethiopia advantage in the conflict between the two countries.   

The Monitoring Group sent 6 letters to the USA requesting for information and none were responded to.   The group sent 96 letters to various governments and they received a full response on only 40% of the letters sent and none at all on 50% of the letters.  This shows the lack of respect countries have for this biased Monitoring Group.

The UNSC failed to force Ethiopia to accept the decision of the Boundary Commission and vacate Eritrean sovereign territories that it is illegally occupying.  Ethiopia continues to violate numerous UN resolutions.  The Security Council ignored these violations and decided to impose sanctions on Eritrea based on lies and fabricated evidences.  An arms embargo against Eritrea when Ethiopia is on a shopping spree for weapons is a reckless undertaking purely designed to weaken Eritrea.  At a time when millions of Ethiopians are starving, the Ethiopian government has spent huge sums of money acquiring military equipment.  The peace of this region was wrecked and millions continue to live in abject poverty for the simple reason that the Security Council took numerous unfair and unjust decisions going back over 50 years.  We continue to witness history repeating itself time and again. We will hold the Security Council responsible for any deterioration of the situation in the region because of the reckless and politically charged decisions that are being passed without any due regard to the wishes and aspirations of the people in the region.  The Security Council should not compromise the principles of the UN for political expediency and protect national interests of powerful nations at the expense of small and weak ones.  If past history is any indication, injustice breeds resistance and it is through her resistant stand that Eritrea was born and prevailed. 

We urge the UNSC to maintain an independent, rational, fair, just position to bring about peace and stability in the region.  When passing judgements and imposing resolutions, it should be less dependent on information and pressures originating from entities who have political agendas.  It should exercise wisdom and honesty in its mandated activities and always bear in mind that those who have less power are not compromised.

 age@eritrea.co.uk

Members of the British-Eritrean community meet with the FCO (AGE Press Release – June 2011)

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:48 by D Woldeab

The Action Group for Eritrea ( AGE ) arranged a meeting on 20th June 2011, Martyr’s Day, for a group comprising of five members of the British-Eritrean community to meet with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London with a view to follow up and discuss the nullification of UN Security Council Resolution 1907 (2009).

The meeting, which lasted from 3:00 pm until 5.30 pm, was cordial and everyone was given adequate time to express their views freely.   It is to be recalled that AGE had arranged a meeting with the FCO on 23rd December 2009, the same day and time that the UN Security Council was unfairly imposing sanctions on Eritrea.  Members of the Eritrean community in the UK had expressed at the time their strong disapproval on the passing of the sanctions without any evidence.  It was proved beyond doubt at the time that the Monitoring group report contained inconsistent and factually wrong information.  Whilst many countries were accused of the breach of UN resolutions, only Eritrea was targeted for sanctions and this made it clear that the decision was politically motivated.  The FCO confirmed that they were using evidence gathered through their own intelligence, but were not in a position to share it with anyone including Members of Parliament representing British Eritreans.

Whilst the main topic for the discussion at this meeting was the forthcoming UN Somali Monitoring Group Report, issues such as the unimplemented EEBC final and binding border decision was of high importance to the Eritrean group.  The FCO raised the detention of PVI staff in Eritrea, human rights issues and the collection of 2% development tax by the Eritrean Embassy in London as their concerns.

Members indicated that the UK would only gain by the existence of a stable and prosperous Eritrea and that they would like to see improved relationship between Eritrea and the UK.  Members expressed their willingness to play their part in bridging real or perceived gaps and misunderstandings.  They stressed that the Sanctions of December 2009 will only gear towards destabilizing and impoverishing Eritrea.  Members impressed on the FCO for Britain to play a role towards ensuring a level playing field in the Horn of Africa rather than creating an imbalance of power in the region.  The imposition of the sanctions was unjust and intended to weaken Eritrea’s economy and military strength.  Members reminded the FCO that the accusations made against Eritrea had not been factually evidenced and neither had the Security Council members been given any evidence at the time that they agreed to sanction Eritrea.  The evidence continues to be classified information.  It was stated that no British or any other respected court of law would find Eritrea guilty of the accusations without the accusers presenting their evidence. 

Members wanted to know where the UK Government stood in relation to the Monitoring Group Report due to come out in July.  The FCO noted that the conflict with Djibouti is being addressed, and this is viewed as a positive point, but that the support of Al-Shebab by Eritrea was undergoing continued monitoring and that the UK Government, like everyone else, is waiting to hear the outcome of their investigation around mid-July.  Members expressed their frustration and stated that it would be a travesty of justice if the Monitoring Group involved any assessment based on any kind of allegation prompted by Ethiopia.  Members also expressed their concern the fact that Ethiopia’s declared intention to change the Eritrean government by supporting groups that include extremists is totally ignored while focus and attention is being put on Eritrea’s relationship with Ethiopian opposition forces and the false accusations made by Ethiopia.

Members were further dissatisfied with the response they were given in relation to the EEBC decision which remains in limbo.  The FCO was reminded on how Eritrea abides at all times by legal decisions, even when the outcomes are not in her favour.  To this end, a colonial era Daily Telegraph map of the Horn of Africa was presented, clearly showing all of the Hanish Islands as belonging to Eritrea.  Yet Eritrea accepted the hybrid resolution meted out by the UN commission.  Members reminded the FCO that the British government is in breach of the responsibility they were bestowed upon as a member of the European Union and a permanent member of the UN Security Council to ensure that the Algiers Agreement is fully respected.

The FCO confirmed their support of the implementation of the decision of the Boundary Commission to resolve the conflict and have recently raised the issue with the authorities in Ethiopia.

Members highlighted that at a time when the British government is cutting public spending and the country is bracing itself for strikes in protest against the planned austerity measures, taxpayers money is being used to indirectly subsidize Ethiopia’s expenditure on armaments.   This will only lead to more wars which in turn will create the never ending vicious cycle of Ethiopia needing more aid.  They stated that they did not begrudge Ethiopia for receiving development aid from the UK, but are concerned that there is no safeguard to ensure that the money will be used for the intended purpose.

Members further confirmed that as dual citizens they are within their rights to pay the required 2% on income to the State of Eritrea in the same way as British citizens are required to pay income tax when working abroad as residents. There is no law that prohibits Eritrean citizens paying 2% to the Eritrean government.

Members recommended for the UK Government to endeavor in establishing an honest, impartial and fair approach in order for the Eritrean Government to begin to trust and engage in mutually meaningful ways.  

The UK Government, despite being dissatisfied that four UK citizens had been denied consular access while in detention, it is pleased to note that they have now returned in good physical health and that they reported for having been well looked after while undergoing investigations further to their being caught illegally in Eritrean territory with a cache of military equipment. 

Members may not have come out fully satisfied with the position of the UK Government towards Eritrea, but felt it was important to keep engaged.

Following this extended meeting, which members saw as being part of their duty to lobby and raise issues of concern with the UK Government, all five members of the Eritrean community rushed in pouring rain to the commemoration at Hyde Park of the Martyrs for Eritrean Independence.  It is only through their definitive sacrifices that the independent sovereign State of Eritrea exists today.  

 

Global Action Month: Telephone Campaign (December 2010)

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:47 by D Woldeab

23 December 2010 will mark the first anniversary of the date that the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Eritrea, based on false and unsubstantiated accusations that are still to be proven. The sanctions were a continuation of the injustices that have been perpetuated against the people of Eritrea. Eritreans were out on the streets of major cities in the world to strongly oppose the sanctions. Our collective voice created a thunder that the perpetrators of the sanctions could not ignore. Many letters were sent to Security Council members, the sanction committee, governments and embassies. It is for this reason that the sanctions have not been fully implemented and the impact lessened.  

 

The voice of every single Eritrean is important. No self-respecting Eritrea should remain indifferent when injustice is being done to our country and people. This is the minimum we can do, and today we call upon all our members and friends to get involved and do their bit in the campaign that is being waged this month to call for the annulment of the sanctions. The cycle of injustice must end!

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