From the President of the Government of National Regional State of Tigray,
H.E. Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and President of the United Nations Security Council (September 2022)
Members of the UN Security Council New York, NY
H. Excellency Mr. Antonio Guterres Secretary-General of United Nations, New York
I am writing to you twice in as many weeks because I believe the situation in Tigray is poised for another round of genocidal war and destruction, probably much worse than the one we saw and survived year. Both the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) have unleashed a full-scale and highly highly coordinated offensive on Tigray. The peace process has collapsed, and the truce is broken. All humanitarian operations have been suspended.
Unless UNSC resolves to forcefully intervene to
- stop the aggressors and force the EDF out of Ethiopia.
- enforce the cessation of hostilities. lift the siege and the resumption of all essential services in Tigray
- launch a properly designed and managed peace process under its oversight
- ensure unfettered access to humanitarian assistance, and
- resume the humanitarian operations,
the people of Tigray are about to perish in the hands of these two brutal armies and the effects of famine.
I would also like to underscore and clarify the commitment of the people and government of the Regional National State Tigray to peace. Peace is our strategic choice. Peace is a matter of survival for us, as people. The peace we achieve must be lasting.
On my last letter dated 23 August, 20202, I warned that the Federal Government of Ethiopia and its allies are again beating the drums of tam, and by allies I meant the Regime in Eritrea. Further down, I also explained why the peace process was being set up to fail and how the Federal Government of Ethiopia was eroding our confidence by reneging on its commitments and obligations.
Unfortunate to us and the people of Tigray, since I wrote my last letter in August, the Federal Government of Ethiopia reneged on its commitment to restore essential services to Tigray and has launched a massive offensive to vanquish and subjugate Tigray. The Federal Government has blocked access to any humanitarian assistance and continues to perpetrate the war crime of starvation. The Federal Government once again invited the Eritrean army to coordinate with its forces and dispatched its ENDF divisions to Eritrea so that they can launch a joint attack for the Eritrean side. The Federal Government also mobilized its largest-ever army to the borders of Tigray, including the southern front (Kobo), the south western front (seqota), and the western front (Western Tipsy).
Since the resumption of hostilities on the Kobo front (August 24) and the northern front (September 1). our forces have inflicted serious reverses on the forces that threatened us, and war is still raging on all the above fronts plus some more from the Eritrean side.
This war was not and can never be our choice. It is imposed on us by those who want to vanquish us, and we are only trying to defend and ensure our survival as a people. It is very unfortunate that some members of the UNSC tend to politicize and play it into their superpower game plan. Tigray and the people of Tigray are aligned with nobody or for nobody. They are fighting for their own survival and dignity against forces that want them exterminated and vanquished. As such, peace for us is both an existential and strategic objective and we request the UNSC help us get a sustainable and resolute Peace.
As a prelude to such a sustainable and resolute peace, we propose a cessation of hostilities that includes the following four elements:
- An immediate, unconditional and complete lifting of the blockade on essential services.
- Unfettered humanitarian access, including clear and agreed protocols and arrangements to this effect.
- The withdrawal of Eritrean forces from every part of Ethiopian and Tigrayan territory, under international monitoring, to positions in which they can no longer pose any threat to us.
- Return to the constitutionally recognized borders of Tigray as they stood prior to the outbreak of hostilities in November 2020.
During the cessation of hostilities, which by its nature shall be a short period of lime, we expect to put in place a form ground and conducive environment for the peace process. To this effect, we propose a peace process with following elements
- The appointment of a credible panel of high-level international mediators, supported by expert advisors. We have made our view on the current African Union high-level representative clear. Members of the high-level panel must be acceptable to us.
- Agreement and declaration on a set of principles that guide the peace process as a whole. These should include, inter alia:
- Monitoring and verification mechanisms with penalty clauses;
- Accountability for international crimes.
- Agreement on a clear timetable for the implementation of the agreement entered into.
We trust that you and Members of the Council, appraised of the facts, will expedite the achievement of these legitimate goals, by condemning the Ethiopian government for reneging on its commitment to peace, condemning Eritrea for its illegal attacks on the people of Tigray, and condemning both of them unequivocally for international crimes including starvation.
This fighting must end with a decisive and irreversible victory for peace and human rights. Unless we achieve that, the fundamental rights of the Tigrian people can never be assured and the Ethiopian state will continue in its death spiral.
We have shown patience and restraint. We have made a strategic commitment to peace. We stand ready to complete that commitment.
Debretsion Gebremichael /PhD/