Redwan Hussien has said that Wolkait was forcefully taken by the TPLF but declares that TPLF is not an enemy provided that it is disarmed
Redwan Hussien, Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, had a meeting with Ethiopian opposition parties on Wednesday in the capital Addis Ababa.
The event is not covered by State media or any other local media outlets. The only exception was the Ethiopian Reporter but it was only on Sunday that it published the story in Amharic.
It quoted Mr. Redwan as saying “The issue of Wolkait will be resolved in a system that the House of Federation will lead.”
The meeting was in fact more of a briefing – based on a report by EMS, about the agreement between the Ethiopian government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
It happened at the Intercontinental Hotel in Addis Ababa and many of the major opposition parties in the country including the radicalizing Oromo Federalist Congress attended it.
Opposition parties in Ethiopia, although most of them were active participants during mobilization efforts to reverse military adventure by TPLF, were not consulted when the Ethiopian government decided to go to South Africa for a peace talk responding to a call from the African Union.
Mr. Redwan reportedly raised a number of issues in connection with the agreement. Dr. Rahel, one of the leaders of the Ethiopian Social Democratic Party, appeared on EMS eletawi.
Opposition party leaders posed questions regarding details of the agreement including on the issue of Wolkait. However, no opposition party released a statement regarding the peace agreement, at this writing, and the latest rapprochement efforts by the Ethiopian government towards TPLF.
She said that Mr. Redwan did say that the issue of Wolkait was not raised in agreement and that he (and the government ) think that it will be resolved constitutionally.
To give some background to it, Wolkait used to be part of Gondar, now a zone within the Amhara regional state. TPLF annexed it to make it part of the Tigray region. And the constitution, engineered by the TPLF, was adopted in 2005. According to that same constitution, Wolkait is part of Tigray.
The Ethiopian government framed Wolkait as a “disputed” area and wants to resolve it “constitutionally” – with the constitution that created the problem.
There has been a movement – both underground and open – on the issue of Wolkait identity. Lesane Gifuan is an organization that advocates for the people of Wolkait.
It has openly alarmed Ethiopians about Ethiopian government’s position to resolve the issue in a way to uphold TPLF desire over it is unacceptable. The organization is rejecting any idea of a referendum. There was no referendum when the TPLF annexed it about thirty years ago.
Last month, a consortium of Ethiopian organizations in the Diaspora wrote an open letter to PM Abiy asking his to be clear about Wolkait.
Withdrawal of Eritrean Forces
Mr. Redwan also talked about the withdrawal of the Eritrean Forces. He criticized those who are calling for the withdrawal of Eritrean Forces from Ethiopia are not saying anything about the withdrawal of Sudan’s forces from the areas it occupied [since November 2020].
He mentioned the support from Eritrea when the TPLF attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force in November 2020.
Reversing the TPLF’s third round of war in August 2022 would have been difficult and the country’s existence would have been in question if Eritrea did not allow the deployment of Ethiopian forces from its territory, he added.
He is saying that Eritrean Forces would withdraw when the Ethiopian government does not need their presence any longer. However, there were reports this week that Eritrea withdrew its forces from the region.
The need by unspecified powers to attack Eritrea by using Ethiopia is also highlighted but he said Ethiopia would not allow that to happen.
Abiy Ahmed’s administration’s recent position towards Eritrea is not crystal clear. It seems his administration is more interested in buying the friendship of TPLF forces – after all the crimes they committed. “Is it even possible to buy TPLF’s friendship” is a question given the political culture of the TPLF as a party.
The question of justice and accountability seems to be entirely forgotten. As Abiy Ahmed sent a delegation to Tigray, for which Debretsion Gebremichael expressed gratitude, on Monday last week, he also made remarks in Wolaita saying that “those who stole money could get peace if they invest the money they stole in bakery and factories.”
The cost of keeping TPLF as a friend has become a problem to enforce laws. Most of the Pretoria Peace agreement itself is not yet implemented as far as the TPLF is concerned. And Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration’s customary indecisiveness is now looking like a penchant for pacifism.
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