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Ethiopia says ceasefire not meant to allow impunity

Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen breifed the diplomatic community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia _
Demeke Mekonnen ( Photo : file/ENA)

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From extensive media coverage in the west, it seems that there is little or no interest among the powerful countries in the west to understand the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia for what it is. 

Much of the media coverage is marked by distortion or outright propaganda campaigns to cover up Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) crime and advance its cause, perhaps through TPLF their own geopolitical agenda in an area that has attracted multiples of power players. 

Ethiopia has been in the receiving end of accusations ranging from “genocide in Tigray” to “the use of famine as a tool for war.” In reality, it was the Ethiopian army that was regularly attacked in the region by armed groups operating as civilians. In most cases, the attack came from armed groups.  The government demonstrated restraint from taking retaliatory measures. 

During a briefing session to the members of the diplomatic corps in the capital Addis Ababa, on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen said “We are not oblivious to the consequences of the ethnically charged propaganda by the TPLF which is misleading particularly the Tigrayan youth to join their ranks. “

In terms of humanitarian assistance, the Ethiopian government provided over 70 percent of aid distributed in the region. This week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that his government spent over 100 billion birr ( well over US $2 billion) in a span of seven months. 

At the same time, egregious human rights violations, including massacres as in the case of Maikadra, by the TPLF are never mentioned in most media narratives and statements of governments. 

Not just that TPLF does not seem to have interest in ending the conflict. For example, the TPLF has rejected the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire as a “joke.” It also expressed its desire to take the war to Eritrea and the rest of Ethiopia. No member of the “international community” or entity has, so far, condemned the TPLF’s refusal to end the war. 

Despite the commitment not to see the Ethiopian situation objectively, Ethiopia seems to be not losing hope in the diplomatic front. 

The media briefing to members of the diplomatic community on Friday seems to demonstrate that. 

In his message, Mr. Demeke highlighted the extra mile this government travelled to resolve differences with TPLF through dialogue  and how it was drawn into law enforcement operation after the TPLF attacked the northern bases of the Ethiopian Defense Force. 

He also talked about the context within which the ceasefire was introduced. “We believe the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire will avert a potential catastrophe in food security, thus allowing people to focus on their farming duties, at least, during this rainy season. ” he said. 

However, the underscored that the opportunity is not meant to condone a crime.  He said, “It should be understood that this initiative is in no way designed to allow impunity, as we have made it clear in our statement. I want to reaffirm here, once again, that we are indeed firmly resolved to continue ensuring accountability for human rights abuses and crimes committed in the Tigray region.”

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