The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is asking for Security arrangements for its negotiators and travel arrangements to South Africa. Ethiopian Government says the Peace talk should happen without any preconditions
The Ethiopian government on Wednesday announced that it has accepted the African Union Peace talk that is scheduled to take place in South Africa.
It is expected to take place this weekend. There were reports that the peace talk would take place in neighboring Kenya. It is unclear why the African Union picked South Africa.
It is also known at this point that the African Union special envoy to the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, will be leading the peace talk.
Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngeuka, former deputy president of South Africa who had also served as a United Nations official, are part of the talk on behalf of the African Union.
Ethiopia’s Ministry for Government Communication Service said “…The African Union’s official invitation is consistent with the Ethiopian Government’s prior positions. It is known that the Government of Ethiopia has expressed that, talks should only be meditated by the African Union and should be held without any pre-conditions…”
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s security advisor, Redwan Hussien, conveyed a similar message, as expected. He tweeted: “The GoE has accepted this invitation which is inline with our principled position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the need to have talks without preconditions.”
Although the Ethiopian government maintains the position that the negotiation has to be African Union-led, there are reports from EMS Ethiopian news that the U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa is heading to South Africa. However, it is confirmed that the United States will not have a direct role in the talk.
TPLF accepted invitation to peace talk
The TPLF on Wednesday announced that it has accepted the peace proposal. In a letter addressed to the African Union chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Debrestion Gebremichal said “…The government of Tigray is ready to participate in the proposed peace talk in South Africa…”
However, Mr. Debrestion cited that his organization was not consulted about it and asked for clarification if there are other parties to be involved as mediators, observers and guarantors. He also asked what the role of the “international community” would be in the peace talk.
TPLF also asked for clarification about logistics including travel and security arrangements for the negotiating team.
TPLF had been rejecting African Union led peace talk for many months. In the past two weeks, the rebel group reportedly suffered crushing defeats to the point that it announced withdrawing from Kobo.
It is for the first time for Ethiopian government officials and TPLF leaders to meet directly after the TPLF ordered its forces to attack the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force nearly two years ago – an incident that triggered the bloody war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
The war also caused the destruction of properties and infrastructures worth hundreds of billions of birr. According to the latest research-based findings in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, the damage in the region is estimated to be 292 billion birr.
The Afar region of Ethiopia has suffered similar destruction. The TPLF forces controlled much of the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia after the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire in July 2021 and withdrew from the Tigray region.
Reactions to the Peace talk
Most Ethiopian activists who express their views on social media tend to reject negotiation with the TPLF. They think TPLF, a designated terrorist organization, should disarm and its leaders should face justice for the atrocities they committed against the Ethiopian Defense Force.
But there are also voices that call for a safe passage for TPLF leaders and for its forces to disarm, and resort to a peaceful life.
Former United States Assistant Secretary of State For Africa, Herman Cohen, seems to advise the TPLF to adjust their expectations from the peace talk.
He said: “During upcoming Ethiopia-Tigray mediation talks in SouthAfrica, key question will be continued existence of TPLF as ruling political entity in Tigray. Addis is unlikely to offer more than amnesty and safe passage”
To share information or for submission, send e-mail to email@example.com
Telegram Channel : t.me/borkena
Join the conversation. Follow us on twitter @zborkenato get the latest Ethiopian News updates regularly. Like borkena on Facebook as well. To share information or for submission, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org