Telephone hotline established between TPLF and Ethiopian government officials
The African Union has convened a follow-up meeting between Ethiopia’s Defense Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)’s military commander, Tadesse Worede.
The meeting started in Nairobi on Monday and is expected to last until Wednesday. The purpose of the meeting is, as disclosed by the African Union, to work out detailed modalities for implementing the agreement on matters like disarming the rebel forces – among other things.
The African Union anticipates agreement for modalities on silencing the guns, humanitarian access and restoration of services in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
When the two sides signed a peace agreement on November 2, in Pretoria South Africa, it was agreed that senior military commanders from both sides would meet to discuss a range of confidence-building measures including the rebel groups.
What is known so far is that the two sides have established a telephone line as part of the effort to safeguard the peace deal. They are expected to call one another in the event that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
African Union mediators are expressing hope that the peace talk will succeed. Former Kenyan President and one of the African Panelists in the talk, Uhuru Kenyatta, said “We started in Pretoria. We are inching closer; we are in Nairobi now. We are very hopeful that we will be in Mekelle for our meeting and ultimately celebrate together in Addis Ababa.”
Although the majority of Ethiopians do seem to be relieved by the signing of the peace deal, from local media reports and social media conversations, some fear that it may not take root.
Ardent TPLF supporters, mostly based in the Diaspora, are now blaming the organization for accepting the peace deal. In some parts of the United States, there is an open mobilization against it.
There are also some media personalities who have launched their own campaign to oppose the agreement. Tewodros Tsegaye, an activist and media professional, was vocal against the TPLF and ethnic-based politics for which he got a considerable support base. But he did not remain that way. When the TPLF started to lose military grounds, he turned out to be a harbinger to echo the “Tigay genocide.”
His latest campaign is against the peace agreement. This week he produced an hour-long Youtube media session to make the point that the peace agreement “sold the people of Tigray to its slaughterers.”
He also made points that rebel combatants are “Tigray Defense Force,” not TPLF’s fighters and that the TPLF can not sign peace agreement to disarm it.
But the TPLF officials seem to reflect a different view that underscores the peace agreement was the right decision.
Getachew Reda, who has been working as the spokesperson for the organization, said “Peace is what our people need more than anything.”
He tweeted : “Everything we do, every move we make, or every agreement we sign is driven by the need to ensure the interest of the people of Tigray. Peace is what our people need more than anything. Whether we will deliver on our promise in a manner that satisfies our people time will tell…”
The war, which the TPLF triggered when it attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force in November 2020, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and people’s livelihood in the Afar, Amhara and Afar regions.
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