[dehai-news] (AC) Eritrean Partnership with the European Commission

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Wed Mar 11 2009 - 13:06:19 EST

Eritrean Partnership with the European Commission

Berhane Alazar
March 09, 2009
An Open Letter to Mr. Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for
Development and Humanitarian Aid
Dear Commissioner Louis Michel,
I am delighted to learn that you are considering exercising your
bilateral partnership program with the State of Eritrea. Let me express
my appreciation of that consideration. I am writing this note, however,
to plead with your good office not to be dissuaded by some of the
unfounded negative comments you may have been hearing about Eritrea and
its government.
Sir, as you know, Eritrea is a country that is endowed with much
potential but has been hampered from taking full advantage of it for so
long because of a volatile neighborhood she can do nothing about. If it
is not some Islamic fundamentalism from the Sudan and beyond, it is the
Ethiopian governmentīs insatiable land appropriation, which does not
legally belong to Ethiopia. And as if that is not bad enough, there
comes chugging along the Djiboutian government with some fancy stories
of its own, no doubt, at the behest of some foreign powers.
Not withstanding the overly blown out of proportion propaganda some
"Eritreans" and their supporters have been writing about, let me assure
you, sir, that every Euro the EC appropriates to Eritrea will be put to
good use as witnessed recently by your own delegation who visited this
unfortunate but beautiful country.
Without taking too much of your valuable time, Eritrea has been working
day and night to improve the lot of its long suffering people. In spite
of the unfavorable climatic conditions that normally exist in that part
of the world and despite the erratic and unreliable seasonal rains,
Eritrea has given food security amongst the priority of priorities. With
its meager resources, she has been building basic infrastructure
including medical facilities, educational institutions, and agricultural
implements including water conservation and diversion schemes and a
sound water management system. It has been building as well as
rehabilitating roads and railroad systems that had been neglected during
successive Ethiopian administrations.
While the current political system may not be to the liking of some,
sir, considering the political impasse Eritrea finds itself with the
constant threat of invasion from Ethiopia and, now, Djibouti with no
apparent objection by the international community (including the EU),
Eritrea can not be expected to but remain vigilant and alert. While this
is a subject for another day, the EU could help alleviate that impasse
by putting pressure on Ethiopia to abide by the internationally decided
verdict to settle the Ethio-Eritrea border once and for all by Ethiopia
vacating sovereign Eritrean territory it still occupies; and by Ethiopia
allowing for the physical border demarcation to be implemented
unhindered. Because of that unsettled issue, with some 300,000 Eritrean
youth wasting their valuable time at the war front, some 70,000 IDPs
unable to completely return to their farms and villages, Eritrea could
not be reasonably expected to relax the political climate that we all
find ourselves in. It is simply not practical or conducive to peace to
expect otherwise. We all know the Eritrean leadership is in unenviable
position to try to balance the nationīs security needs with that of
political "freedom". The much talked about individual freedom is
meaningless if one could not ascertain the political independence,
national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country we all
love and call Eritrea. Anything else is fake, phony and deceitful and is
tantamount to one sleepwalking just to find out the painful truth on
Eritrea can and will do what it is expected of her and more - only if
she has the political space it needs and if and when the international
community bears its moral and legal obligations and stood by this unique
and exemplary nation. All throughout its political life since the 1940s,
Eritrea has long been abused by the community of nations to appease some
powers regardless whether such standing was right or wrong. It is time
the EU rose to the occasion and play a leading role in correcting past
mistakes committed primarily by the UN/US under various misguided
policies which turn out to be disastrous and unproductive to say the
least. Eritrea has proved itself that it is a partner that one can count
on when it comes to believing in justice, sticking to truthfulness and
calling a spade "spade" that apparently has been hard to come by - by
states that are more prominent and more powerful than humble but
principled Eritrea.


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