Government Press Release on Goals for Inclusive Democracy, Humanitarian Aid and Issues, and Conflict Resolution
The Ethiopian Government, represented by the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Peace, met in Addis Ababa on August 25 with some 150 representatives of international diplomatic and humanitarian aid NGO community. The Government heard and responded to a wide range of questions, following open and frank expression of views of many attendees regarding critical topics, including the current Tigray conflict, efforts to deliver food and other humanitarian aid, political developments, and Ethiopia’s relationships with longstanding allies and economic development supporters.
The Government remains committed to progress toward ultimate resolution of the Tigray conflict, making efforts to secure withdrawal of Eritrean forces and secure a cease fire, opening of corridors for humanitarian aid deliveries, restore and maintain telecommunications, power and services infrastructure, delivery of health care, distribution of agricultural assistance including seed and fertilizer in Tigray during this critical growing season. We have identified illegal violent acts related to the conflict and have arrested those identified and will prosecute the convicted such atrocities, including Government military personnel. We also took swift action to establish substantial programs that provide protection and relief to victims of the conflict, especially women and children.
The conflict remains dynamic and we are monitoring around the clock to act and react in the bests interest of the people and the entire nation. Our top priority is protection of the people, maintenance of Ethiopian unity and regional stability, and establishment of an inclusive Ethiopian democracy. We remain committed to full transparency throughout the process.
Our country is in the midst of a national election,with voting in some 86 percent of all districts completed in June, with remaining areas in Tigray to vote in early September. Ethiopians now have and will continue to have their own elected representatives in the national government focused on the needs of their district. In spite of challenges, our percentage of eligible voters registered has substantially matched or even exceeded registration rates of similar voter groups in recent elections in established democracies such as the United States. While there are very sharp political differences among the extremely diverse Ethiopian regions and electorates, the turnout has never been stronger.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is widely unpopular throughout all of Ethiopia, even in Tigray itself where other political parties remain with the Government. TPLF wants to return to its historical authoritarian rule, rejected strongly by 110 million Ethiopian People.
In November, TPLF initiated the current conflict by attacking the ENDF and drawing in Eritrea by rocket attacks on Asmara. TPLF’s radical mission is balkanization and destabilization of Ethiopia and the entire Horn of Africa region.
After repeated violent disruption by TPLF to the power grid, telecom infrastructure, and commercial and social activities such as agriculture and banking the Ethiopian Government worked around the clock to restore power and communications costing millions of dollars. USAID has now confirmed that TPLF has looted US shipments of food aid and began conscripting child soldiers and confiscating food aid shipments intended for the population of Tigray making this bad situation worse for all stakeholders at every turn.
TPLF and its diaspora supporters abroad, especially in the United States, continue to benefit from financial resources and international relationships accumulated during its decades in power, leveraging them to mobilize assets to conduct inflammatory and divisive propaganda and disinformation-filled social media campaign targeting governments, media, international institutions, and NGOs. The destabilizing narrative and talking points pushed by TPLF are largely met with little to no critical examination, pushback, or factual verification by some in the international community.
The Ethiopian Government is laser-focused on resolving all current conflicts and moving the nation into open democracy that will benefit all regions, all people, and all political parties. The international community continues to urge de-escalation, strong steps to protect displaced persons, women and children, and various actions to facilitate humanitarian aid distribution. The Ethiopian Government hears and understands these positions, and we’re committed to moving toward resolution.
Ethiopia has a track record of being a supportive and reliable ally of the international community and we’re commited to continung this role in the region. We ask the international community to recognize that we are a democracy in transition and have limited resources, and there will be instances where our political and social institutions will take some time and process to emerge.
The Ethiopian Government asks that the international community recognize that our goals are to end conflict and advance toward inclusive democracy, Ethiopian unity, and stability in the region. TPLF only benefits from fragmentation, instability and continued widening conflict. There is no internal political path forward in the country for TPLF, so it seeks external support to fuel their destruction. The international community is urging TPLF to de-escalate, but should not offer TPLF, with its authoritarian history and current destabilizing agenda, an undeserved equivalent status in this process. The United States should stop giving TPLF the cover of semi-anonymity and call it by name instead of just referring to it as a “concerned party”. We also call upon our long-time allies to examine the financial support of TPLF with its international sources, which funnel TPLF’s accumulated wealth abroad to support a disinformation lobbying narrative, sustain conflict, and increase agitation. The US should investigate and enforce US law, including the Foreign Agents Registration Act, regarding TPLF’s US based social media propaganda organizations. Finally, we implore the US to pursue designation of TPLF as a terrorist organization, based on its status as a non-state actor that’s continuing use and advocacy of force to overthrow a lawfully elected government resulting in illegal infliction of violence and damage to civilian populations, and especially expanding use of child soldiers for attacks on expanding areas of our country.
Ethiopia remains extremely grateful for the continued international support and enormous volume of humanitarian aid from international NGOs and governments including the US, EU nations and others. We are committed to working with our supporters with a continued timely dialogue and response to overcome obstacles that arise due to the ongoing conflict.
Transparency is paramount and we remain open to listenting to the views and concerns of all in the international community. Our movement towards open democracy and transition of our institutions for this purpose depends on implementing the best principles from many sources worldwide.