Sunday, July 14, 2024

Washington Update: Averting Civil War in Ethiopia

Letter to President Joe Biden

To: President Joe Biden

Via: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

From: Mesfin Mekonen

Re: Averting civil war in Ethiopia

Date: April 12, 2023

Mr. President, I am writing as a longtime representative of the Ethiopian-American community to alert you to the imminent danger of a civil war in Ethiopia. I often corresponded with your staff when you served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Tensions between the central government and the Amhara people have boiled over and have already resulted in armed conflict. If it is not stopped soon, the violence will grow into a civil war that will destabilize Ethiopia and spread to the entire Horn of Africa. The U.S. has a moral obligation to avert the war and protect human rights.

It isn’t necessary or desirable for the U.S. to pick sides in the conflict. Rather, the U.S. must step in rapidly to facilitate a transition to a legitimate government and advocate for a process that will lead to a new constitution for Ethiopia. The conflict between the Amhara and the central government has its origins in the divide-and-rule and ethnic federalism created by the TPLF government and retained by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad Ali.

The ethnic federalism imposed by the Abiy government is putting the country on a rapid downward spiral into violence that could soon spin out of control. The Oromo Liberation Army, along with the regional government in Ethiopia’s Wollega region, have massacred Amhara people and displaced over two million Amharas.

We, the Ethiopian-American community, ask the United States to help avert the civil war in Ethiopia before it is too late.

Respectfully,

Mesfin Mekonen, Ethiopian/American Community

Deteriorated Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia

This week I discussed the Ethiopian deteriorated human rights situation with Ambassador Hilda Suka-Mafudze, the Permanent Representative of the African Union to the United States of America. Speaking on behalf of the Ethiopian-American community, I called attention to attacks on the Ethiopian Amharas and requested assistance from the African Union. The African Union has played an important role in helping to stop the violence in Tigray. The war in Tigray affected about 6% of Ethiopia’s territory.

The events in Ukraine must not distract the world from the catastrophe that is occurring in Ethiopia. The Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine and the horrors already being imposed on its people should serve as a reminder that U.S. policies must be rooted in accurate and unbiased information. Lies, fantasies, and selective reporting led to disaster. The same is happening in Ethiopia.

The U.S. must also avoid sanctions that will merely annoy influential individuals in Ethiopia while imposing additional misery on ordinary people. In developing policies toward the escalating civil war, the U.S. and the international community must keep their eyes open.

After the immediate conflict has been calmed, Ethiopians must take steps to avoid future conflicts. Peace and stability depend on abandoning the ideology of ethnic division and launching a project to revise the Ethiopian constitution. The present constitution was created to exacerbate ethnic divisions. It will lead to the destruction of Ethiopia.

Ethiopian-Americans ask the U.S. Congress and the administration to review its policy towards Ethiopia.

 

Author profile
Mesfin Mekonen

Mesfin Mekonen is the author of Washington Update, a bulletin about Ethiopia’s struggle for freedom and prosperity, and founder of MM Management.

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