A National Call to Defend Ethiopia’s Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity | Press Statement from the Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee – See more at: http://www.zehabesha.com/a-national-call-to-defend-ethiopias-sovereignty-and-territorial-integrity-press-statement-from-the-ethiopian-border-affairs-committee

The Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee (EBAC) was established in response to secret border negotiations between the Ethiopian government led by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the government of the Sudan that we believe would materially affect our Motherland’s territorial integrity, national independence and sovereignty and the interests of millions of Ethiopians for generations to come. In this regard, EBAC has conducted background research, mobilized tens of civic and political organizations, raised public awareness, provided press releases, transmitted official letters to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Chairperson of the African Union, permanent members of the UN Security Council, members of the European Union, members of the Arab League, governments of Ethiopia and the Sudan and also the different governments of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, defended Ethiopia’s legitimate rights and exposed the deceitful and traitorous nature of the secret dealings orchestrated solely by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This minority ethnic group exercises singular sway within the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front that is now led by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn.

 

EBAC believes that Ethiopia’s borders are a consequence of enormous sacrifices in lives and material spanning hundreds of years. Successive Ethiopian governments led by Emperors Tewodros, Yohannes, Menelik and Haile Selassie and even the Socialist Military Dictatorship led by former President Mengistu Haile Mariam all had one thing in common. They defended Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and its borders with the Sudan.
On November 23, 2015, Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Osman Nafi “accused the Amhara regional government for recent skirmishes that” purportedly claimed the “lives of 25 Sudanese nationals.” He noted rightly that “This is an old problem not born yesterday. It was a matter of discussion between the two countries since the 1960s.” In fact, the problem emanated much earlier when Sudan was a British colony while Ethiopia was the only independent country in Africa.
In EBAC’s seminal letter cosponsored by 25 Ethiopian civic and political organizations to his Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations and the Chairperson of the African Union on January 10, 2014, we highlighted the legal underpinning of the border to which successive Ethiopian governments have adhered without compromising an inch of Ethiopian territory. None of Ethiopia’s previous governments recognized the boundary and border drawn by the British in the early 19th century. As we stated in our letter then and state again, The respective territorial limits of both countries were defined by the Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1902 at the turn of the last century when Great Britain was the colonial power administering the Sudan. As is customary in international practice in delimiting national boundaries, the treaty provided for the setting up of a Joint Boundary Commission to be appointed by both sides to carry out the actual demarcation of the boundary on the ground. Upon completion of the demarcation process both parties were required to notify their citizens of the boundary as demarcated. We have insisted and continue to insist that this should occur before any binding agreement is concluded. Otherwise, it won’t be binding on Ethiopia and Ethiopians. –

Despite the clear mandate of these undertakings, however, the treaty has remained a dead letter for over a century and, as a consequence, the boundary between the two countries has never been demarcated by a joint commission. Instead, contrary to both the spirit and letter of the provisions of the treaty, Great Britain appointed its own officer, Major Charles W. Gwynn, to unilaterally and arbitrarily demarcate the boundary without the knowledge and the participation of Ethiopian boundary commissioners. Ethiopians should know that the demarcation line which resulted from this high-handed exercise greatly favored the Sudan while causing Ethiopia to suffer a corresponding amount of territorial loss. It is this highhanded and arbitrary action that the TPLF led government wants to legitimize in the coming few weeks.

Notwithstanding the fact that the demarcation of the boundary by one of the Contracting Parties cannot legally bind the other, nevertheless Sudan has over the years importuned successive Ethiopian administrations to accept the validity of the unilateral demarcation undertaken by the British. Before the current government took power in Ethiopia in 1991, the consistent and unequivocal response of Ethiopian administrations has been to reject the validity of Sudan’s claims, calling instead for a negotiated settlement of the boundary on the basis of the original treaty with the full knowledge, participation and consent of peoples likely to be affected by the demarcation line. The TPLF has a treasonous track record of diminishing Ethiopia; it sponsored and facilitated the secession of Eritrea. EBAC states unequivocally that no Ethiopian regime in power has the right to cede Ethiopian territory without open discussion with the people of Ethiopia and without Parliamentary deliberations. EBAC is not aware of any government anywhere in the world that willingly, deliberately and treacherously cedes its country’s territory for which millions of lives have been lost and whose impact will be felt for generations to come. We urge all Ethiopians to reject this sinister act.

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