Mekelle, Ethiopia, 18 February 2015

Selam! Good morning.

On behalf of the people of Rwanda, and of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, I am honoured to congratulate you, on this important milestone, in the life of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, and the nation that it was created to serve.

Before anything else, I would like to take this opportunity, to express once again, our profound thanks, for the many acts of solidarity, that have brought Ethiopia and Rwanda closer together.

The TPLF and the EPRDF are our sister parties, and Ethiopia is a valued partner country. The late Ato Meles Zenawi, is a hero, to all of us.

Forty years ago, a small group of young people came together, with a vision for a better society, and the determination to make that vision a reality, no matter the odds.

You faced the military might of superpowers. Famine was used against your people, as a weapon of war. Your national unity, was under constant assault.

But nothing could break the Ethiopian spirit, and you have not only prevailed, but continue to thrive.

My main message to you today, is that Ethiopia’s success has great meaning beyond the borders of this country, because of how you have addressed your problems.

Allow me to recall two elements, in particular.

First, you never wavered in your commitment to build a robust national unity, that is at the same time, firmly anchored in Ethiopia’s remarkable diversity. As a result, Ethiopia is peaceful, stable, and increasingly prosperous.

In this regard, the importance of the decision to join forces with other liberation movements, in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, cannot be underestimated.

Second, you have always maintained a principled commitment to self-reliance in all forms: economic, political, and above all, intellectual.

In our world, there are groups who believe that they care more about Africans, than we care about ourselves. Solutions are imposed, that may have worked elsewhere, for other people, with different histories. As for us, we are told, in so many words, to keep quiet.

Ethiopia has never kept quiet. You have charted your own course, based on a deep analysis of your history and circumstances, and stayed the course.

The result is the enormous growth we see today in Ethiopia, while you move rapidly towards a future as a middle-income country.

The roots of this confident self-reliance, go back to the very foundation of the TPLF and its partners. When the full history of our continent’s liberation is written, it will be found that in your struggle, Africa as a whole, found one of its most important voices.

It is thus fitting to see Ethiopia increasingly called upon, to function as a force for peace and development in the wider world, through your peacekeepers, and just as importantly, with your ideas.

Rwanda is proud to be your partner, and we wish you every success in the years ahead.

Once again, congratulations and thank you.

Viva TPLF! Viva Ethiopia! Viva Africa!

Awet Nehafash