Letter to the London Conference on Somalia

Hon. David Cameron MP, Prime Minister
10 Downing St.
London SW1A 2AA
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, NY
United States of America
The Honorable Baroness Catherine Ashton
High Representative of the European Union
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Vice-President of the European Commission
200, rue de la Loi
B-1049 Brussels

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
U.S. Department of State
Washington DC 20037

Honorable Jean Ping
Chairman of the Commission for African Union 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

IGAD Secretariat
Avenue Georges Clemenceau
P.O. Box 2653 Djibouti
Republic of Djibouti

H.E. Dr. Nabil ElAraby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Secretariat –
Tahrir Square Cairo, Egypt

Honorable Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,
P.O.Box 178, Jeddah 21411, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


We would like to take this historic opportunity to thank the government of United Kingdom for its unflinching commitment and timely hosting of the London Conference on SOMALIA on February 23/2012.

We hope this August Gathering will concretely underscore the urgent need for sustainable peace in Somalia in particular and the Horn of Africa in general. The world expects this conference to come up with a comprehensive outline and a practical process on how to resolve the intricate and multi-faceted crisis in Somalia.    

The significance of the conference is not only reflected by the very urgency of the need to bring peace and stability to the highly volatile strategic region but also by the overwhelming commitment of the leaders and representatives of diverse countries, institutions and organizations that have chosen to attend and represent their countries and institutions in this conference. 

The seven point program agenda attests to the intensity and seriousness of the genuine concern motivating the participation of all actors seeking a vision and solution for a region desperately in search a comprehensive peace. This noble undertaking will be watched and scrutinized by a wide range of political forces and observers for its success and shortcomings in the immediate now and in decades to come.

That said it will be a dereliction of duty if we did not bring to the attention of this historic gathering one key issue: that in spite of the vast resource, time and effort invested on this conference there are elements within the Horn Region that would leave no stone unturned to derail this noble effort. The conference will fall short if it does not address the crystallizing convergence of destructive forces in the region and pronounce a unified condemnation and denunciation of these elements at the closing of the conference.  

The nexus between Al-Shebaab and the Eritrean regime represent the convergence of destructive forces hell-bent on derailing any and all positive undertaking  that could bring any semblance of peace and stability  to the war-torn Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The recent official announcement by Al-Qaida on Al-Shebaab joining its ranks only affirms what the reality has been on the ground for sometimes.

The London conference’s genuine effort to outline a forward looking concrete proposals and practical measures on how to deal with the intricate challenges faced by the people of Somalia will fall short unless the role of the Eritrean government in destabilizing Somalia and the rest of the region is openly and frankly addressed by all attending this conference.


The UNSC has passed consecutive resolution (UNSCR- 1907 and 2023) demanding that the Eritrean government stop destabilizing the Horn Africa and cease and desist from financially and materially supporting and sponsoring Al-Shebaab and resolving its differences with Djibouti in a peaceful and constructive way. IGAD and AU have constantly demanded that the Eritrean government refrain from its irresponsible and destructive role. All these effort has not made a difference in the policy and practice of the Eritrean government.

The record clearly shows that the government of The State of Eritrea has not implemented a single provision of the relevant UNSC sanctions. On the contrary its intransigence has been amplified. Given its well-entrenched uncooperative posture it is very unlikely that it will officially repudiate Al-Shebaab and Al-Qaida, make peace with the government and people of Djibouti, recognize the Transition Federal Government of Somalia, accept the Kampala Accord and Roadmap as viable plan. This is the hard reality the world cannot wish away.    

The London Conference on Somalia has a golden opportunity to take a firm stand against the well documented illegal behavior of the Eritrean government by incorporating in its declaration and communiqué a resolution affirming solid support to the UNSC resolutions on Eritrea and demanding that Eritrean government comply with all aspects of the UNSC resolutions without any equivocation.

A critical part of the discussion at this conference has to address this glaring challenge. Failing to do so will undercut the vision and purpose of this timely conference.


The people of Eritrea wish nothing better than a Peaceful Horn of Africa where war, terrorism, famine and dislocation of people are brought to an end. Unfortunately the government in power in Asmara does not represent their political wish or their longing for peace. Under the circumstance we, members of the Eritrean civil society in the Diaspora felt it was our duty to convey the overall consensus of the vast Eritrean Diaspora concerning the negative role played by the undemocratic government in power in Eritrea. For the sake of the people of Eritrea and the entire Horn of Africa we hope our plea and concern will be taken into account in your deliberation and resolution.

We wish a resounding success to the conference and kindly request that our letter is forwarded to all attending this historic conference.

With high hopes and expectations,

Seyoum Tesfaye

Chairman of Eritrean Global Solidarity (EGS)  

Merachew Berhe

Chairman of Network of Eritrean Civil Societies in Europe (NECS-Europe)

February 21, 2012

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