March 21, 2014

Andeberhan Woldegiorgis Or Former Ambassador’s volte-face

Eritrea’s former Ambassador to the EU, Andeberhan Woldegiorgis

Tesfa News | Eritrea’s former Ambassador to the EU, Andeberhan Woldegiorgis, released a short “manifesto” of his new “political platform” through YouTube on 17 January 2014.  This was apparently meant as a prelude to the still-born “Forum for National Dialogue” that was subsequently launched in London in early February 2014.

We reproduce below excerpts of his U-Tube statement to give our readers a gist of his new “ political perspectives”. But we have also gone further to obtain, through various channels, public statements that he had passionately made at various international forums in previous years in his Ambassadorial capacity precisely on the issues he is now advocating in a volte-face mode.

Andeberhan defected in 2006 for personal rather than political reasons. He declined to return home following the end of his ambassadorial posting to Brussels reportedly telling close confidents that he was less than excited about his new job as CEO of the National Bank besides hius desire to see his sons study abroad.

For purposes of presentation, we juxtapose below his U-Tube statements with a verbatim replication stance on those very issues prior to his current bout with selective dementia.

1./ Ambassador Andebrehan’s YouTube statement on the detained former government officials and political realities in Eritrea:

“… Since winning the war and exercising the right of self-determination in the form of independence, the people have not had the chance to choose their own government.  In other words, the national liberation front of which of course I am a founding member of the Central Committee, it waged a long war, built an efficient war machine combat effective, achieved military victory. But it became ill suited running the affairs of a state. It failed to transform itself and its functions from waging a war of National liberation into running the affairs of state in time of peace. As a result, attempt to transform it from within was aborted and those who have attempted ended up in jail.  I will not bore you with a long story, but in short, in 2001, the national assembly, which is the country’s parliament was suspended…”

Let us take a look at what he said in his statements to the EU-ACP Assembly and read excerpts of a letter sent to the Secretary General of the Inter Parliamentary Union (2001-2005):

“…The detention of certain individuals engaged in unlawful acts against the security and sovereignty of the State has nothing to do with any political views they may hold and/or express.  Moreover, these individuals had no agenda of reform that sets them apart from the Government or the ruling Front of both of which they were among the leading members…. Ensuring national security is a cardinal responsibility of the state. Thus, the detention of culpable officials to ensure the security, stability and integrity of the State can, in no way, be construed as a general violation of human rights. Far from being ‘representatives of the opposition’ or ‘advocates of democratic reform’, the arrested were senior Government officials holding positions of high authority when they engaged in activities harmful to the security of the state in wartime…”
“… The National Assembly had duly addressed the issue of their parliamentary immunity and mandated the Government to appropriately deal with the matter…”
“…The gravity of the acts perpetrated by the former members of the National Assembly against the security and sovereignty of the State at a critical moment when its very survival was threatened by a brutal aggression.  The extreme sensitivity of aspects of the case, arising from the implication of foreign powers in a plot to oust the President of the State must be highlighted.  Hence, the handling of the case requires prudence and appropriate timing to avoid possible negative external ramifications…”
“… The question of whether to bring their case to trial before a court must be considered in conjunction with progress in the peace process, as the case entails extremely sensitive aspects pertaining to the implication of third countries and a possible negative impact on the peace process…”
“…Unfortunately, the paragraphs on Eritrea in the Motion on East Africa have been tabled without making the minimum effort to ascertain the real situation in the country. They fail to recognize, or be informed by, the evolving process, underway, of building a participatory political system through conducting transparent, fair and free elections at the local and regional levels. These successful local and regional elections, constituting an exercise in home-grown grassroots democracy, are the precursors of the planned national elections. Hence, the presumption of certain MEPs calling on Eritrea ‘finally to take the road towards democracy’ is superfluous, condescending and unnecessary. For this very reason, we appeal to the distinguished delegates assembled here to reject the condescending paragraphs on Eritrea…”

2./   Andebrehan’s YouTube Statement on the Eritrea-Ethiopia warm:

“… Eritrea went to war virtually with all its neighbours from 1995-2000. So we have utter repression at home and no war no peace situation with our neighbours.  So the aim of the forum for national dialogue which has been recently established by most prominent Eritreans who escaped being jailed or suspended inside the country who are mostly in exile is first of all to bring about democratic transformation from within and bring about durable peace with Ethiopia … I will go the regional aspect Eritrea and Ethiopia went to war again 1998-2000 the international community came in there was UN sponsored peace building mechanism which has not yet secured the peace. So they have this state of affairs that can be  best described a cold  wars state of no war no peace where the borders are closed but these are the two closest countries, closest peoples in Africa. They shared a long history they have a shared culture and religion and many strategic interests. The two economies are complementary, so we believe that the future of the two country lies not in the kind of relations they have today but in reconciliation, in working together in economic integration … once the two countries abide by the final and binding decision of the boundary and Claims Commissions then the two countries can use classic diplomacy to restore normal relations between themselves and cultural diplomacy to actually heal the wounds of war to heal the animosity that exist…”

Now let us take a look at Ambassador Andebrehan’s corresponding public statements while in office until 2006:

“…We, in Eritrea, have always viewed this imposed conflict as senseless and futile, incurring unnecessary loss of life, wanton destruction of property, costly diversion of meager resources and lost opportunity for development and improvement of the human condition…. And we all know that Ethiopia launched an all-out invasion of Eritrea in May-June 2000, occupying large tracts of sovereign Eritrean territory in the West and South…”
“…Expeditious demarcation, as stipulated by the Algiers Accords, was meant to complete the peace process and lay the basis for the gradual rebuilding of reciprocal confidence, normalization of relations and the healing of the wounds of war between the two countries. …However, Ethiopia has been engaged in a deliberate and systematic effort to delay, obstruct and derail the demarcation process. To this end, it has sought, in collusion with other states in the region, to subvert Eritrea’s sovereignty and territorial integrity…”
“…All this is dictated by Ethiopia’s flagrant stance of non-respect for the sanctity of the colonial borders.  This was the cause of its aggression in 1998 and remains at the heart of its willful obstruction of the demarcation process to date, thereby jeopardizing regional peace and security.  Ethiopia’s noncompliance and threat to disrupt demarcation unless the BC alters its decision so as to grant it Badme, signify that war clouds are, once again, hanging over the Horn.  Needless to say, the resumption of hostilities will visit another tragedy on the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia and pose a grave threat to regional peace and security…”
“…Ethiopia’s call for dialogue is thus a ruse that contravenes the Algiers Agreement, defies UN Security Council resolution…. Indeed, Ethiopia’s flouting of the international rule of law threatens to ignite new hostilities and disrupt regional peace and security…”
“…Today, Ethiopia stands in violation of the delimited colonial treaty border whose demarcation it obstructs. Defying UN Security Council resolutions, it continues to occupy and build new settlements on sovereign Eritrea territory …”
“…Ethiopia’s call for dialogue to amend the EEBC’s final and binding delimitation decision contravenes the Algiers Treaty, defies UN Security Council resolutions and flouts the international rule of law. If not reversed, Ethiopia’s intransigence poses a grave threat to the fragile peace between the two countries as well as to regional peace and security…”

3./  Ambassador Andebrehan’s YouTube statement on political liberties:

“…The basic ingredient of democracy is lacking, there is no freedom of expression, assembly and association, in fact it is illegal in the country for any people more than two for any group more than two or three people to get together to discuss a thing they conspiring and therefore it is illegal and they be detained under such circumstances…”

Notwithstanding the fact that the good Ambassador has not provided a single evidence for his YouTube assertions, allow me to present corresponding statements made on the same issue during his Ambassadorial tenure:

“…In the past few weeks, we have witnessed a seemingly concerted and increasingly negative depiction of the situation in Eritrea, precipitated by the detention of politicians and the clamp down of the private press, all exacerbated by the expulsion of the Italian ambassador. This portrayal of the situation in Eritrea is distorted, unjustified and unacceptable…”
“…The private print media has been suspended due to persistent contraventions of the country’s press code. The fact is the Government has merely ordered a temporary suspension in response to persistent contravention of the Press Code and the loss of independence under the inducement of foreign funding…”
“…National attention and resources are now refocused away from defense into reconstruction and development, into the systematic reduction and eventual eradication of poverty through rapid sustainable development and the equitable distribution of its fruits. Moreover, the last years has seen an extensive participatory process, involving the grassroots level, both at home and in the Diaspora…  Eritrea remains committed as ever to good governance, to the accountable and transparent management of national resources, and to the persistent fight against corruption and economic crimes as a matter of state policy and practice…”
“…I wish to reiterate here that Eritrea’s commitment to the democratic process, respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance is first and foremost a commitment to its people, to whom it is solely accountable. These are internal issues for Eritrea and its people to deal with in accordance with its respective historical processes as well as economic, political and social realities. They cannot be objects of imposition or wilful interference by third parties…”

The stark comparisons outlined above illustrate, adequately, that the former Ambassador Andebrehan’s current political views do not cohere with his public positions and pronouncements of yesterday.  Unfortunately, he cannot hide behind, and attribute his previous positions to “a sense of duty” and/or the exigencies for adhering to one’s “diplomatic briefs”. After all, he was an active member of, and duly attended, all the meetings of the National Assembly when the sad affairs of treason and sedition were debated in the legislative body.

In the event, the good Ambassador’s volte-face cannot be easily explained unless he is suffering from a debilitating bout of selective amnesia. Unless that is, he is just being plainly and unconscionably dishonest.
The third, more probable explanation, is that he is merely the news anchorman paid to read a script written by his foreign handlers; a simple case, as it were, of “ who pats the piper controls the tune “. “ Forum “ leaders have foolishly bragging to their miniscule audiences of late that “ money is not indeed a problem “; thereby unwittingly giving away the sinister game that the big fish are playing Andeberhan’s blabbering does make sense in this case as he is also notoriously known for insatiable and exception greed in matters of food, money and other carnal vices.

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