ETHIOPIA: EPPF aspires to harmonize relations between

Ethiopians and Eritreans

By Tamiru Geda

London:  The UK chapter of the Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF) has taken an initiative to  harmonize relations between Ethiopians and Eritreans. The front underscored that solidarity is the only way out of the current crises  in  the Horn of Africa  sub-region.

At a  public meeting held on Sunday, 24 January 2010 in London,  several issues were raised  such as  the prevailing political and economic situation, election 2010 in Ethiopia, progress within EPPF,  Ethiopians and Eritreans  in the UK as well as solidarity and  cooperation and  future  prospects were the  main agenda  of the day. The issue of  solidarity  and  cooperation   was hotly debated  among participants. Ato Wondimu Mekonnen , renowned Ethiopian activist  and known critic of the  ruling party in Ethiopia  said that Eritreans were  responsible  for carrying the TPLF on their  shoulders and  enabling it to take power in Addis. “You Eritreans, our brothers  and sisters, are  responsible  for injecting Ethiopia with a poison called Weayne,” Wondimu said.

Following his  remarks  another participant  named Mrs Sabira Mohamd ,  naturalized   Ethiopian,  said  the re-unification of Ethiopia  and Eritrean  was vital in the region in terms of creating enduring peace and stability as well as harmony between the two people. Another Ethiopian also  echoed her  view and  claimed that  for him  Ethiopia meant the geographic entity that includes Eritrea  as part of   the mainland of  Ethiopia. Such and similar  comments  were made during the meeting  and some Eritreans , who  were   among the invited  guests, forcefully responded to the comments.

One Eritrean participant who was born in Ethiopia said that the reason  why he and other  Eritreans joined the armed struggle was   due to  the then prevailing social injustice  in Ethiopia. “I personally have no interest for destabilizing Ethiopia,” he said.

“When TPLF seized state power,  it dramatically changed its previous behavior  that  caused   the existing problem in Ethiopia and the region. Our division helps the TPLF,” he noted. “We   support the EPPF’s   program because we found that it is a multi-national party, that   aims  to hand over power to the people. It is also the first Ethiopian party that enables to up  such a forum  between Ethiopians and Eritreans.”

He went on to say that we should  learn  from the history of Europeans, who once fought  each other  but now  formed the European Union that is harmonizing common economic, political and  social interests. “We are now benefitting from their strong economy as refuges. First let us fight for peace and  stability and let us  also hold dialogues among each other,” he said.

According to Sileshi Tilahun,  Head of International  Public Relations  for EPPF  such moves should be driven toward  maintaining the long  and historical ties between the two people. Sileshi underlined that the  sprit of the  forum was  to generate solidarity and to move forward. “We should stop  for a moment and see how the TPLF has been enjoying our division.”

At the public meeting, officials from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the  Sidama Libration  Front, Eritreans  and other friends  addressed the gathering .The next public meeting is expected to be held in Washington DC. in the near future.