The government stand on “controversial areas”
The Ethiopian government on Monday released a statement on the occasion of the one year anniversary of the Pretoria Agreement that was signed in November 2022.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Abiy Ahmed’s government ceased hostilities following the peace agreement.
It said that parties to the agreement must demonstrate the “same level of ” determination like the Federal government
The Federal Government Communications Affairs Ministry highlighted what it said was a peaceful effort through elders and religious leaders to avert the outbreak of a war but it was impossible to do so that that government had to do “law enforcement” duties.
“The forces that see war as the only solution threw Tigrean youth to fire,” the statement said in reference to the loss of lives due to the two years war.
They caused grief to Ethiopian mothers, the statement added. An estimated one million people are believed to have been killed in the war in the Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions.
The letter explained why the Federal government opted for resorting to ending the conflict through peaceful means when it had the military stature to end it through the use of force. The purpose was, it said, in order not to create a situation whereby there will be a narrative about losers and winners which will negatively impact the coming generation and the nation building process. The purpose was to make all winners.
The government also made claims that it traveled a long distance in the post-Pretoria agreement out of a conviction for the wound to heal. “The government has tried to implement the peace agreement exhibiting tolerance although there were issues,” it said without specifying the nature of challenges it was facing in that regard.
The Ministry detailed the kinds of support that the Tigray region has been getting after the signing of the peace agreement and the reason that it did so. However, the government does not seem to be content with the performance of the Interim government under Getachew Reda. The failures on the part of the administration are not specified.
“The government has a firm stand for the full implementation of the Pretoria peace agreement. All the parties must demonstrate similar determination and discharge their responsibility, ” is what it said. It was only the TPLF and the Federal government that were parties to the Pretoria agreement. It is unclear why the government communications Ministry made it sound that there were more than two parties to the agreement.
Recent report by The Economist indicated that the TPLF still has over 200,000 armed forces. One of the key issues in the agreement was for the TPLF to disarm its combatants and heavy weaponry.
Another key issue highlighted in the statement on areas that are described as “controversial areas” – a reference to Wolkait and Raya areas. The TPLF incorporated these areas as parts of Tigray soon after taking power in 1991. Before that these areas used to be parts of Gondar and Wollo.
“The government has taken a stand on it,” and it is one “that ensures lasting peace , benefits all parties, fosters multinational unity and prosperity.” Whether that means a referendum, as some media outlets have reported, or something else, it remained unspecified.
The expression “multinational unity and Prosperity” seems to be emerging as a key narrative as the ruling party is making claims that it is working on reforms.
Wolkait is currently under Welkait Amhara administration and the TPLF is making claims that the Pretoria agreement has restored these areas back to Tigray region. The government’s “firm stand” is confusing from that point of view too.
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