The National Council of Eritrean Americans (NCEA) strongly deplores the House Foreign Affairs Committee bill introduced by Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Young Kim (R-CA) concerning the war in Ethiopia.
The bill, “The Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace, and Democracy Act,” instead of bringing peace and stability, will only encourage the party that has been obstructing peace in the Horn of Africa for three decades to continue with its reckless and destructive adventures. It rewards the belligerent group, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, for dragging the region into mayhem.
The TPLF, designated a terrorist group by the Ethiopian Parliament, has time and again made its intentions for Eritrea very clear. It was harboring and training Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadist elements to destabilize Eritrea. In fact, the late TPLF leader, Meles, openly told Karl Wycoff, President Obama’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, that the TPLF had intentions of sending terrorist units into Eritrea, groups “that you [USA] don’t like.”
TPLF military as well as civilian leaders are also on the record stating that they don’t accept Eritrea’s internationally recognized borders and they want to build their Greater Republic of Tigray at the expense of the Red Sea territory. To this extent, TPLF had Illegally occupied sovereign Eritrean territory for nearly two decades.
When the TPLF attacked the Ethiopian Northern Command early in November 2020, Eritrea was on the receiving end of numerous missile attack launched by the group in what was widely condemned, including the previous US administration as an act of aggression designed to internationalize the conflict.
Eritrea, according to Article 51 of the UN Charter, is within its rights to defend itself. However, the Malinowski-Kim bill intends to deny the young African nation its fundamental right to self-defense. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Government of Ethiopia made it clear on November 13, 2021, when it denounced the Biden Administration’s actions as interference in its internal affairs and amounted to infringing on its sovereign rights and had “never lodged any grievances to the international community regarding the initial presence of Eritrean forces on its soil in defense of their territorial integrity,” and “the Government of Ethiopia doesn’t believe that the State of Eritrea is an impediment to sustainable peace in Ethiopia.”
At the same time the Heads of State and Government of the African Union that were assembled on 6 February 2022 for their 35th Ordinary Session passed this resolution:
- “Reaffirming the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, which states, inter alia, that no State may use or encourage the use of unilateral economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights;
- “Stressing that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the United Nations Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States;
- “Expressing our grave concern at the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the right to development, international relations, trade, investment, cooperation, and peace and stability;
- “Urges the European Union and the United States of America to lift the unilateral coercive sanctions imposed on the State of Eritrea.”
Again, we strongly condemn this unjust, malicious bill designed to harm Eritrea’s promising economy to the extent that it will compound the existing pull factors on migration, compromise Eritrea’s ability to address social and humanitarian needs of its population. These punitive actions undermine all the efforts being made by all the peoples and nations of the Horn of Africa to ensure peace and stability in their region and beyond.
We express our profound disappointment with the House Foreign Affairs committee for adopting a resolution pertinent to the Horn of Africa in general and the State of Eritrea in particular lacking in basic facts and on the basis of distorted ones. As a legislative body, we expect committee to scrutinize rather than accept blindly what the executive units have been reporting. Moreover, we hope to see a hearing in which the views and testimonies of all stakeholders, including civic organizations such as ours, would and should be featured.
We thus call upon all the members of the US House of Representatives concerned about peace and stability to reject this malicious, coercive bill pushed by the TPLF lobby and its enablers within the Biden Administration.
Finally, we would like to remind them that African problems cry for African solutions; not lobbyistdriven and misinformation-laden ones from Washington.
The National Council of Eritrean Americans (NCEA)
February 11, 2022