The TPLF hails the Pretoria agreement as good but it says TPLF was not a party to the discussion
A document from the Nairobi agreement that was signed between the Ethiopian Defense Force Chief of Staff and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) military commander on disarmament indicates the agreement is not concluded with the TPLF.
In the ending part of the document where the two representatives put their respective signatures, Tadesse Worede is addressed as “Commander, Tigray Armed Combatants” instead of TPLF combatants. In the same document, Field Marshal Berhanu Jula is addressed as “Chief of the General Staff of ENDF”
Weeks after the initial agreement, the TPLF as an organization is breaking its silence. It is contesting that it did not send its negotiators to South Africa or Nairobi. The claim it is making is that the agreement is between the Ethiopian government and the “Tigray government.”
“There is no body that went to the peace talk representing the TPLF. In the peace agreement, the description ‘TPLF combatants’ needs correction. TPLF does not have combatants. The combatants in Tigray are not that of TPLF’s but Tigray’s”
Furthermore, it made claims that the regional government was elected legally.
However, the peace agreement signed in Pretoria did not give recognition to the “Tigray government” or for the election that the TPLF organized in the region months before it attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force on November 4, 2020 – an incident that triggered the two years war.
It has also agreed, in the peace agreement, to the principle that there should be only one Defense Force in the country.
On the one hand, the central committee of TPLF said the peace agreement will bring about peace, and ensure justice and accountability.
When the African Union announced the peace talk invitation last month, it was clearly indicated that the talk was between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF.
At the time, the TPLF leaders responded to the AU call made to the Ethiopian government and the TPLF. The letter was signed by Debretsion, TPLF chairman.
It is unclear why the TPLF is making claims ten days after the agreement was signed.
When FM Berhanu Jula arrived in Addis Ababa, on Sunday, from the implementation agreement talk, he spoke on a positive note saying that the negotiation was conducted in good spirits. However, he said that there are “groups who do not want the agreement from here and from there.” The identities of the groups who are said to be not happy with the agreement is unspecified.
The response to the agreement was overall good although there is a noticeable skepticism that the TPLF would not respect the agreement. There are also views that make speculations that the TPLF is planning to adopt an Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) style struggle by disowning the armed combatants.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has a habit of glorifying petty gains – sometimes when there is none. Although the desire for peace among Ethiopians – including in the Tigray region – is clearly strong, it remains questionable if the TPLF would respect the agreement and disarm its forces whose existence it is denying now.
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