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
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.
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.