The Embassy of Ethiopia, Brussels
We have noted the regrettable statement made by EU crisis-management commissioner Janez Lenarčič during the plenary session of the European Parliament held on July 6, 2021, in which he described Ethiopia’s Government decision to declare a humanitarian ceasefire as a “siege”, which was also published on EUobserver newspaper dated July 07, 2021, titled “Ethiopia creating famine in Tigry, EU warns”. In light of this, we would like to set the record straight.
The Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Brussels would like to categorically reject the characterization of the recent unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in the Tigray region as a siege by the federal government. Since the beginning of the law enforcement operation, there has been a call from different parties including the international community as well as partners for a ceasefire in the Tigray region. In this regard, the government has taken into consideration the recommendations forwarded by the interim administration of Tigray to halt the operation for humanitarian reasons and not to miss the rainy season that is essential for farming activities in the region and all over Ethiopia. The European Commission has also been repeatedly calling for a ceasefire on every statement made by the Commission on this matter. Hence, Ethiopia’s Government declaration of the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire not only responds to its own national calls but also to the repeated calls by partners and in particular the European Commission and as such it’s a step in the right direction that should be applauded.
The Commissioner accused the Government of Ethiopia of “using starvation as a weapon of war”, closing borders and destroying various infrastructures”. It is sad to see that he opted to ignore the facts on the ground and put an unfounded accusation against the Government of Ethiopia.
The Government of Ethiopia has been attempting to curb any possibility of famine in the region, allow access for humanitarian agencies as well as reach out to the needy by up to 70% in two rounds of assistance. The declaration of the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire will further help achieve these objectives. It is in line with this commitment that the Federal government granted flight permission for all interested parties to provide humanitarian services in the Tigray region.
After a peaceful conclusion of the national elections that took place on 21st June 2021 and having in mind the remaining elections that will take place in September, the government has also considered giving a chance for its people in Tigray to have a moment of reflection on how to go about the future political course. This is a magnanimous decision by any standard that gave priority to the people over a show of fire power.
On the other hand, the TPLF Clique has been doing all it can to hamper the successful achievement of those objectives. In this regard, the Clique has rejected calls for a humanitarian ceasefire and rather has opted to engage in mobilizing its troops along the borders, it has destroyed bridges connecting Tigray to neighboring regions and has vowed to open war against Amhara Region and Eritrea. Condemnations should be directed at these rattling acts of the TPLF.
The accusations that have been thrown at the Government of Ethiopia by the Commissioner at the parliament’s plenary session as well as by the Special Envoy Pekka Haavisto recently would not help alleviate the crisis in the region. Our partners should attempt to look at the situation in Ethiopia in the right perspective and understand the magnitude of the challenges the country has been trying to address and recognize the positive steps that have been taken.