July 6, 2005
Prime Minister Tony Blair
President of the G8 Group
Perth & Kinross Council
2 High Street
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
We are writing to seek your assistance as the President of the G8 Summit and as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. We are encouraged by the position taken by the European Union and the Donors Group to mediate the conflict between Prime Minster Zenawi of Ethiopia and opposition parties. We are, however, dismayed that the G8 countries are willing to overlook massive electoral fraud under the pretext of maintaining stability.
We are writing to ask you to apply to Ethiopia the same standards that were used to force a rerun of elections in places such as the Ukraine.
The industrial democracies called for a rerun of the November 2004 Ukrainian elections once it was discovered that there was widespread vote rigging. In Ethiopia, there have been systematic and credible reports of electoral fraud perpetrated by the ruling party.
The European Union's observer team voiced its frustration and concern about the vote counting process as follows. Unless there is a "drastic reverse toward good democratic practice… (the observer team) will have to publicly denounce the situation… Otherwise, the EU jointly with ex-president Carter will be held largely responsible for the lack of transparency, and assumed rigging of the elections."
What makes the Ethiopian situation starkly different from Ukraine is the lethal violence unleashed by Prime Minster Zenawi against those protesting electoral fraud. At least 36 peaceful demonstrators have been killed in cold blood in Addis Ababa alone. Thousands have been rounded up all over the country and thrown into hastily constructed, ill-equipped prison camps.
Your Excellency, post-election Ethiopia is at an impasse for the following two reasons:
1. Lack of transparency and independence of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), a partisan instrument of the ruling party; and
2. The imposition of the June 10th agreement on the opposition parties by the EU and others to accept the National Electoral Board as the final arbiter of electoral disputes.
In our opinion, appeasing Prime Minister Zenawi under the present circumstances flies in the face of the will of the Ethiopian people who have voted their non-confidence in his 14-years of misrule. Appeasement will breed further anger, sow the seeds of discord and lead to further violence and long term instability.
We therefore kindly ask you to consider the following steps:
* Use your good offices to persuade Mr. Zenawi to accept the ultimate responsibility for the killing of innocent civilians;
* Request an immediate, transparent and impartial investigation into the killing of unarmed civilians and the massive roundup of thousands of others;
* An immediate stop to further violence and arrests and the release of all students, leaders and supporters of the opposition parties; and
* A nationwide rerun of the May 15 elections with close international supervision along with a truly independent electoral board and new election rules.
In our humble opinion, these measures will go a long way in redressing many of the wrongs perpetrated by Mr. Zenawi and his lieutenants. These steps will also be the basis for a just, peaceful and long-term solution.
Ethiopian-Americans for Democracy
Mr. Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada
Mr. Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic
Mr. Gerhard Schroder, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic
Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Vladimir Vladmirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation
Mr. George W. Bush, President of the United States
Mr. Romano Prodi, President of the European Union Commission