Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

To:

H.E. President Macky Sall, Chairperson of the African Union and President of Senegal

H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya

H.E. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, United Nations

Members of the United Nations Security Council

Joseph Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Members of the African Union Peace, and Security Council

Olusegun Obasanjo, A.U.  Commission Chairperson High Representative  for  the  Horn of Africa

Workneh Gebeyehu, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Authority on Development

Your Excellencies,

I am writing to convey the position of the Government  of Tigray concerning  our  proposals  for pursuing peace  with  the  Federal  Government  of  Ethiopia,  while  the  Federal Government of Ethiopia and its allies are again beating the drums of war.

The peace process as currently envisaged by the Afi tea n Union, according to the briefing by the AU Commissioner’s High Representative Olusegun Obasanjo to the Peace and Security Council on 4 August, is a blueprint for legitimizing the position of the Federal Government of Ethiopia. It fails to  address  the  causes  of  the  war.  It  does  not  contain the necessary steps to end the war against Tigray and resolve the  political  crisis  in  Ethiopia. The peace process is being set up to fail.

Our position is that the Federal Government must fulfil unconditional legal obligations including: (a) restoration of essential services to the population of Tigray; (b) unfettered humanitarian access; (c) an end to ongoing war crimes, (d) accountability  for war  crimes  and crimes against humanity and genocide; (e) the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Tigray and (f) the restoration of the boundaries of Tigray as they existed prior  to  the outbreak of hostilities (i.e. the return of Western Tigray).

Defying its international obligations, the Federal Government is refusing to lift the blockade. The International community including the A.U. are not acting to avert the looming military attack on Tigray. Should this attack materialize we shall  take  all necessary measures  to  defend  ourselves.  However, I assure  you  that  at  all  times  we remain ready to engage seriously in negotiations for peace.

Your Excellencies

We have conducted two rounds of confidential face-to-face talks with senior military and civilian officials of  the  Federal  Government  of  Ethiopia  and  reached  understandings on a cessation of hostilities and the lifting of the blockade on essential  services  to  Tigray. These facts were conveyed to the United Nations and international envoys.

The lifting of the blockade is not a matter for negotiation. The blockade consists of  the  deliberate  and  systematic  deprivation  of  objects  indispensable  to  the  survival  or  the civilian population including  banking,  telecommunications,  essential  agricultural  inputs such as fertilizer, commerce, free movement of people, as well as obstruction of essential humanitarian assistance as provided for under the Geneva  Conventions.  As such  it  is expressly prohibited under International Humanitarian  Law,  human  rights  law  and international criminal law. In short, the blockade is a war crime.

Let me repeat this point  to make  it absolutely  crystal  clear.  The  continued  perpetration of a war crime is not a matter for  negotiation  under  any circumstances. A similar  view  has been expressed by the U.S. Envoy and his European Union counterpart during their recent visit to Mekelle.

Another non-negotiable issue  is  independent,  credible  and  comprehensive  investigation of violations perpetrated during the war.  Our  position  is  that  all  the  facts  must  come out and all those responsible must be called to account.

As you are also well aware from our previous  communications,  the  Government  of  Tigray has expressed its opinion on the credibility of  the  African  Union  and  the  High Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission. While we, in principle, recognize AU’s role as a continental  organization  in  seeking  African  solutions  to  African  problems, we do not, however, consider  them  neutral and  impartial  brokers in  the war  in Tigray.  We are dismayed by the repeated failure of African Union  to  fulfil  its  obligations consistent with the norms and principles enshrined in its Constitutive Act, when it comes to the war in Tigray.

By aiga