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Welkait and Abiy’s Secret Agreement: A Threat to Ethiopian Unity

By LJDemissie
August 23, 2023

Dear Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Ambassador Mike Hammer,

I am reaching out to you as a deeply concerned citizen of Ethiopia, a country I hold dear. The recently ended conflict in Tigray and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, triggered by the TPLF’s Special Forces’ attack on the ENDF Northern Command, has left me profoundly disturbed. This attack has led to approximately a million deaths, about one fifth of the Tigrayan population, among the TPLF’s fighters, including child soldiers. This has displaced millions of Ethiopians and resulted in a severe shortage of basic necessities. They would have faced starvation without humanitarian aid, including from USAID Ethiopia. I am deeply grateful for these life-saving efforts.

Currently, my concerns are heightened by the ongoing conflict in the Amhara region. I have come across assertions, allegedly made by certain groups, regarding a potential secret agreement between PM Abiy and Ambassador Hammer. This agreement was supposedly made in Kenya with the intention of ceding Welkait to the TPLF. These assertions are based on hearsay and should be treated as such until more concrete evidence is provided.

The motivation behind this alleged agreement is said to be ‘the desire of American political leadership to weaken Ethiopia for the TPLF’. This is despite the fact that the TPLF’s region has limited resources and a population of about only five million. Furthermore, the TPLF has a history of brutality and corruption. Yet, it seems they aim to regain their influence with the help of the USA in the region, particularly among Ethiopia’s population, which exceeds one hundred ten million.

I sincerely hope that these assertions to cede Welkait are unfounded and that the interests of Ethiopia and its people will be upheld in all decisions. I appreciate your efforts to restore peace and stability in the region and to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia. However, I am also alarmed by reports that you are considering handing over Welkait – annexed and made a district in the Western Zone of the Tigray Region by the controversial constitution of 1995 – to the TPLF as part of a secret peace deal allegedly made in Kenya.

I strongly urge you not to do so, as it would be a grave mistake with serious consequences for American political leadership’s reputation in the region and for the Ethiopian people. Welkait is part of Gonder in the Amhara Region, where it has been historically and culturally connected to the Amhara people and other ethnic groups. The TPLF has no legitimate claim to Welkait, nor does it have any support from the local population.

The TPLF’s attempt to annex Welkait is based on a controversial constitution that it imposed on Ethiopia in 1995 when it was the ruling party of the country. This constitution divided Ethiopia into ethnically based regions, creating artificial boundaries such as those between Tigray and Amhara regions that ignored historical realities and fueled ethnic tensions. The constitution also gave each region the right to secede from Ethiopia, which was the ultimate goal of the TPLF.

The TPLF wants Welkait because it is rich in fertile land for agriculture and natural resources, which it wants to exploit for its own benefit. The TPLF also wants to use Welkait as a base to launch attacks on the federal government and its allies, and as a gateway to secede from Ethiopia and form an independent Tigray state. This would be a disaster for Ethiopia’s unity, security, and development.

Handing over Welkait to the TPLF would exacerbate current unrest and violence in the Amhara Region and other parts of Ethiopia where millions of people would oppose such a move. It would be seen as a betrayal of their rights and interests, as well as a reward for the TPLF’s illegality, corruption, atrocities, and crimes against humanity. It would also undermine American legitimacy and credibility as a global leader as well as PM Abiy’s legitimacy as leader of Ethiopia.

I appeal to you not to hand over Welkait to the TPLF. I ask you to respect the wishes and aspirations of the people of Welkait and the Amhara Region who want to remain part of Ethiopia and live in peace and harmony with their fellow Ethiopians. I ask you to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia which is sacred and non-negotiable. I ask you to pursue a peaceful and inclusive solution to the conflict in Tigray that respects human rights and international law.

I hope that you will listen to my voice and act in the best interest of Ethiopia and its people.

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen of Ethiopia

 

The writer LJDemissie can be reached at LJDemissie@yahoo.com

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