[dehai-news] [OEA Statmenet] Our Wishes for Eritrea and the Region for 2009

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From: bereket tecle (bereket_tecle@yahoo.com)
Date: Tue Jan 20 2009 - 23:54:24 EST

OEA Statement
January 20, 2009
Our Wishes for Eritrea and the Region for 2009
We have a list of wishes and expectations, triggered by the travesty of justice practiced by the Bush Administration in the Horn of Africa in the past seven years that we would like to see rectified.  On top of these wishes is for a new direction in U.S. policy for the region and the rest of the continent. Ethiopia’s naked invasion of Somalia in December 2006, with U.S. encouragement and blessing, created the disaster all of us feared would happen in that war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation; though the TPLF regime in Addis Ababa seems to have decided to end its disastrous Somalia adventure, we should take its declared “withdrawal” with a huge grain of salt. There is one thing that does not change in that region: Ethiopia does not want to see a unified, stabilized Somalia.
 The U.S. should therefore be cognizant of Ethiopia’s evil intentions and not be party to Ethiopia’s misguided and criminal intentions in Somalia or any other part of that region, no matter what cover one uses. However, the outgoing Bush administration seems to have done everything it could to prop the minority TPLF regime ruling Ethiopia today.  In the process, Washington seems to have added fuel to all conflicts that were there when it started seven years ago, and started new fires of its own in the troubled region. 
The incoming Obama administration has a chance to do the right thing by reversing the policy that is responsible for the disaster we are witnessing today. That is why, in this time of renewal and rededication, the Organization of Eritrean Americans (OEA) hopes to see:

A Year of Peace: As a starting point, we wish 2009 to be a year of peace and prosperity for Eritrea and the long-suffering Eritrean people.
A Real Change: We wish a major change in the direction of U.S. policy for the Horn of Africa:  The buzzwords among foreign policy makers, Washington think tanks, and the media in the capital these days are “Change in Direction of Foreign Policy.”  However, the discussion seems directed towards Iraq and Afghanistan. We wish that the change addresses the uncertainty and turmoil the Bush administration has created in Somalia and the rest of the region. U.S. policy for the region has been a blind support of a minority regime that is willing to do anything to ensure external aid, but has little internal support. We believe that this short-sighted policy jeopardizes long-term U.S. interests in the region, and even the rest of the continent.
A Balanced Approach: We wish the United States would correct the imbalance in its approach towards Eritrea and Ethiopia. As many have pointed this before, the tension between these two neighbors is central to the tension in the region and the best way to bring it down and eventually remove it is by an even-handed policy toward the two nations, and by being an honest broker in the dispute between them.  An imbalanced approach will continue to breed mistrust among the parties and of Washington.
A Peaceful Neighborhood: Since what happens next door is likely to have a direct or indirect impact on Eritrea and the rest of the region, we wish 2009 to be a year of peace in the Sudan and Kenya as well.
In this time of renewal and rededication, OEA also resolves to:

Work to help improve Eritrea-US relations:  Since this is at the heart of our mission as an organization, we rededicate our effort to improve the relationship between our homeland and our adopted country. 
Continue our struggle against the criminal regime in Ethiopia, which continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territory, forcing thousands of Eritreans to languish in IDP camps, unable to return to their homes and farms.
Organization of Eritrean Americans (OEA)

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