The July 2000 General Assembly of Tegbar

July 3rd, 2001

Prepared by Elias Kifle, Secretary
July 3, 2000, Washington DC

The annual General Assembly meeting of Ethiopian Democratic Action League (EDAL) was held on July 1 and 2, 2000, in Washington, DC. The meeting took place at the University of the District of Columbia. Members from London, UK; Michigan; New York; Atlanta, GA; Arkansas; Baltimore, MD; Texas, and the Washington, DC area have attended the annual General Assembly (GA) meeting.

Since EDAL was established in June 1997, it had been holding its GA meetings by phone (teleconference) about every four months. The February 2000 GA, which was also conducted by phone, decided to hold annual General Assembly meetings in person and set the date of the first meeting for July 1 and 2, 2000.

The General Assembly meeting was convened at 10 AM on Saturday, July 1, following a breakfast hosted by the Washington, DC Chapter of EDAL.

Dr Gashu Habte, Chief Spokesperson of EDAL, opened the conference with a one minute silent prayer for those Ethiopians who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of human rights and justice and those who are languishing in jails. Then after a brief opening speech, Dr Gashu asked members to introduce themselves.

The next item on the agenda was an Executive Committee report, which was delivered by the Secretary of EDAL, Ato Elias Kifle. The report outlined the actions that were carried out by EDAL for the past three years. The report was followed by a question and answer session with members of the Executive Committee, and open discussion on EDAL’s activities, programs, and strategies.

At 12:30 Noon the meeting was adjourned for a lunch break. The DC Chapter hosted the lunch with a variety of delicious Ethiopian food.

Ato Fikreyesus Seyoum from Atlanta chaired the afternoon program which started at 1:50 PM. After outlining the afternoon program, Ato Fikreyesus invited Ato Abate Kassa from New York to make his scheduled presentation. Ato Abate’s one-hour presentation focused on patriotic movement, strategies, and how to achieve our goal. Next, Ato Deneke Hailemariam, also from New York, made a brief assessment of the situation in our country and stated the need for all of us to work together to achieve our goals. A lively discussion took place following the presentations by Ato Abate and Ato Deneke.

At 4:00, after a 20 minutes break, an open discussion was conducted on the “peace talks” that was going on between the regimes of Tigray People’s Liberation Front and Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. Views and suggestions were heard on what the peace talks mean to Ethiopia, and whether the TPLF can be trusted to secure the national interest of Ethiopia. Members stated that the TPLF must secure sea access for Ethiopia and work to get our Afar brothers and sisters back together, which are the least it can do after sacrificing the lives of tens of thousands of Ethiopians. Ato Fikreyesus reminded members that the discussion is scheduled to continue on Sunday and he adjourned the conference for the day at 6:00 PM.

The GA session resumed on Sunday, July 2. Members started arriving at the University of the District of Columbia at 8 AM. Again, the DC Chapter hosted a breakfast. At 10:00 AM, Dr Mankelklot Haileselassie from Maryland opened the meeting by outlining the program of the day. He then introduced Cdr. Assefa Seifu as the first speaker of the day.

Cdr. Assefa discussed the paper he presented entitled “Tensae Ethiopia” (The Revival of Ethiopia). After a brief break, an open discussion was conducted. At 1:45 PM the meeting was adjourned for lunch. The meeting resumed at 2:30 PM.

Dr Imru Assefa from Michigan introduced the afternoon program. The first agenda item was reviewing EDAL’s mission, objectives, methods of struggle, plan of action, and organizational structure. Some adjustments were made to EDAL’s objectives, organizational structure and operational procedures.
(The revised document will be sent to all members.)

Next, the GA discussed the ongoing peace negotiations between TPLF and EPLF. At the end of the discussion, Cdr Assefa, Ato Deneke and Ato Elias were assigned to draft a resolution regarding the peace negotiation to be released to the public.

Ato 6:45 PM the program was concluded and the meeting chairman, Dr Imru Assefa, invited members of the executive committee and some participants to make closing remarks. Finally, Dr Gashu Habte, Chief Spokesperson of EDAL, made a closing speech and ended the first annual General Assembly
meeting of EDAL.

Overall, the General Assembly accomplished what it set out to do. Aside from reviewing past problems and accomplishments, it sensitized the members with future constraints that should be faced and opportunities that should be utilized. What is more, the meeting fostered a genuine camaraderie among the members. -end