EPDP Chairman’s Clarification about the Invitation to an Assenna Foundation Meeting2021-04-27 20:55:59 Written by Office of the EPDP Chairman Published in English Articles Read 194 times
(Certain individuals from within the Eritrean opposition are, unfortunately, once more indulging into expressing negative views against what they wish to call “the others”. This harmful PFDJ-kind of “don’t attend their meeting” attitude should not be allowed to re-visit the opposition. It is to be recalled that Mr. Amanuel Eyasu of the Assenna Foundation sent personal messages to several people, including EPDP members, asking them to attend a preliminary zoom discussion on what can be done to create a common platform in the struggle against the regime in Eritrea. For the benefit of anyone interested on the matter, below is an English translation of the full text of a clarification statement issued by EPDP Chairman, Mr. Tesfai Woldemichael (Degiga), on 25 April 2021. Good reading.)
EPDP Chairman’s Clarification Statement
It is an open secret that members of the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) have been attending all kinds of meetings and initiatives calling for a common struggle against the dictatorship in Eritrea. Examples of such meetings at which EPDP members actively attended and expressed their views included various Yiakl/Enough meetings, women’s initiatives, Snit panels, government in exile discussions and what have you. Therefore, those EPDP members who attended the 14 April meeting called by the Assenna Foundation did so for the same aims, and of course had no hidden agenda to promote. The invitations were sent on individual basis and not for representation of parties; nor were the attendees at the meeting assigned by their leaderships. Furthermore, it must be clear that EPDP members have the right and the liberty of attending any Eritrean meeting to which they are invited, and sometimes to attend meeting to which they are not invited in person.
Per the EPDP Constitution, any party member has the right to be a member of a civil society or a popular movement of his/her choice. But no EPDP member can be a member of another political organization. That is why the EPDP side at the Assenna Foundation head-on asked if the meeting was intending to create a new organization. [To be fair], the response by the Assenna Foundation was that their initiative was simply to coordinate forces willing to work together and that their move was in no way opposed to other opposition forces.
To be clear enough [for those who did not know], EPDP is the Eritrean party that has actually and repeatedly shown its steadfast position in defending its independent political decision. For that, it has been paying dearly. These truths have been very well recorded in the archives of the Eritrean opposition camp.
At the present, the EPDP is devoting all its potential and resources to promote the creation of an all-inclusive national umbrella that can bring together the political organizations, popular movements and civil societies. For the EPDP, this is the top priority and it has no ulterior agenda [as insinuated by certain quarters].
Regarding the war in Tigray, the EPDP is guided by the Political Statement issued at the extraordinary meeting of its Central Council on 21 November 2020 which partly reads as follows:
- The EPDP condemns in the strongest terms possible this Abiy-isaias on the people and the regional government of Tigray. We know causes of the war to be political and constitutional in nature and we call upon both sides to stop the armed hostilities and find an appropriate political solution.
- The EPDP supports the calls by international and regional organizations, governments, religious and human rights bodies for ending the war, and we in particular urge warring parties to accept the initiative of the African Union for peace mediation. In the meantime, we call upon the international community to give serious attention to the plight of all refugees and internally displaced persons in the region.
- Justifiable fears of Eritreans are that one of the objectives of this war is to damage and compromise the hard-won sovereignty of the Eritrean people. We thus renew the call on the Eritrean armed forces and people to redouble their efforts to remove the treacherous dictatorship of Isaias Afeworki before it gets too late.
- The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Eritrea is already endangered by Dictator Isaias Afeworki’s decision to turn Eritrea into a military base for Ethiopian land, air and naval forces. That is why we say it high time for the entire Eritrean nation to rise up against the one-man dictatorship and in the meantime ask for the most immediate withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Eritrean land.
- The treacherous one-man dictatorship in Eritrea did not only allow the entry of foreign armed forces to Eritrea, but it also reportedly forced Eritrean army units to be exposed to the risks of the war in Tigray forgetting that their sole responsibility isf being the guardians of Eritrean sovereignty and the safety of its people.This emergency meeting of the Central Council therefore calls on the Eritrean armed forces to abandon their unjustified involvement in the war that does not concern them. We reiterate our urge to our own people to help in finding ways for safe return of its sons and daughters forced to join this war.
- Likewise, our Party calls for an end of the ongoing ethnic killings in Ethiopia and condemns the massive attacks of the Ethiopian Government in Tigray region.
- We forcefully reject any abuses on civilians and theft of their properties. As such, the reported seizure of people’s property under the cover of war is a criminal act not to be condoned, whoever the actor; it must also be clear to all that such illegal seizures will have consequences.
- The world is well aware that many Eritreans have long been forced to live in exile due to the 30-year liberation war and, since 1991, because of the intolerable situation under the one-man dictatorship. Ethiopia and the Sudan have been among the generous benefactors supporting our exiled people. To this day, Ethiopia hosts a large number of Eritrean refugees, many of them in camps in the Tigray region. Because of this, the total membership in our party and many Eritreans are deeply concerned about the precarious situation of Eritrean refugees in the war zone.
- The EPDP Central Council therefore wishes to draw the attention of all concerned bodies including the international community to provide the necessary protection and support the tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees in the region.
This self-evident statement tells all about the EPDP position on the matter. Likewise, the party’s relations in cooperation with all forces that support our struggle against the dictatorship in Eritrea have been clear for a very long time. We once more underline that the EPDP shall never be stopped from promoting principled relations with:
- Forces that respect Eritrean sovereignty;
- Forces that shall desist from violating our independent political decision;
- Forces that accept relations on the basis of mutual respect;
- Forces willing to refrain from interference in one’s internal affairs; and
- Forces willing to promote peace and common interests.
On Eritrean-Ethiopian relations, the Party’s Third and Unity Congress [of 2019] has adopted the EPDP’s position on relations guaranteed by institutional instruments and not to be based on the whims of individual leaders. The relations with Ethiopia must be based on non-interference on each other’s internal affairs, and aim to promote peace and basic interests of the two countries/peoples.
We in the EPDP thus reiterate [to all concerned] that we shall continue to struggle on the bases of our declared objectives and that the attendance of some party members at the meeting called by Assenna Foundation was not a new occurrence. Therefore, even though there cannot be any wild distortion that can win over the truth, we anyway felt to alert the public against certain quarters of ill-will bent at repeating the un-wanted and mutually harmful history of negative campaigns with falsehoods against the EPDP.
Let’s Unify Our Ranks to Protect Eritrean Sovereignty!!
Office of the EPDP Chairman
25 April, 2021