Four retired US ambassadors to Ethiopia write an open letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) stating their concerns about recent political developments in the country.
The letter sent exclusively to The Reporter is signed by Ambassadors David Shinn, Aurelia Brazeal, Vicki Huddleston, and Patricia Haslach.
The full content of the letter is presented below.
Open Letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed from retired U.S. Ambassadors to Ethiopia
January 21, 2021
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
We are former ambassadors who have served in Ethiopia during various political crossroads, and each of us are forever inspired by the resilience and principles of the Ethiopian people. At present, we are deeply concerned about the stability and future of Ethiopia, and so have taken the liberty to write to you about our concerns.
We have watched the conflict in Tigray with grave unease as, according to the United Nations, nearly 60,000 refugees have fled to Sudan, 2.2 million people have been displaced, and 4.5 million people need emergency assistance, many of whom are without adequate food. We are also worried about the reported presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray, which could jeopardize Ethiopia’s territorial integrity.
We are concerned about the worsening ethnic tensions throughout the country, reflected in the proliferation of hate speech and rising ethnic and religious violence. Based on our time in your country, this growing violence seems to us to be contrary to Ethiopia’s long-standing tradition of tolerance for diverse religions and ethnicities.
It is our hope, Mr. Prime Minister, that your government will ensure the protection of civilians, the independent investigation of human rights violations, and unrestricted access for the United Nations and other relief agencies. We would like to repeat the advice we often heard during each of our tenures in your country: Ethiopia needs a national dialogue designed to bring together all sectors of society. We wish you and every Ethiopian the very best.
Hon. David H. Shinn
Ambassador: July 1996-August 1999
Hon. Aurelia E. Brazeal
Ambassador: November 2002-September 2005
Hon. Vicki J. Huddleston
Chargé d’Affaires: September 2005-November 2006
Hon. Patricia M. Haslach
Ambassador: September 2013-August 2016