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Ethiopia’s ruling Party veils TPLF’s military action in Raya with “all sides” narrative

Ethiopian News _ Prosperity Party - Raya _ TPLF
Adem Fara, Ethiopian Ruling Prosperity Party Deputy Chairman, during an interview with state media, April 18,2024 (Photo :screenshot from EBC video)

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Toronto –  There had been a series of diplomatic consolations between western powers and  Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) during and after the Pretoria agreement. Diplomats from the United States, UK and European Union – had been traveling to the Tigray region of Ethiopia and there were instances where the TPLF leaders had visited the United States – after Pretoria. Contents of the talk behind the scenes were not known to the public. But one clear result was that the Pretoria agreement- for which the U.S. and its allies played a rather dominating role  albeit they appeared to be just shadowing, rescued TPLF militarily and made it a relevant political actor. It did not take years before Abiy Ahmed resorted to lobbying the Ethiopian parliament to scrap TPLF’s designation as a terrorist organization. 

Since February of this year, the consultation was mainly between Abiy Ahmed’s government and the TPLF. Initially, Abraham Belay, the Minister for Defense, said during an interview with state media in Tigrigna language that areas in what they call West Tigray and South Tigray would be returned to the Tigray region. And it was framed as just a matter of implementing the Pretoria agreement. 

When the TPLF invaded – this is confirmed from multiple local sources – Raya earlier this week, a consultation with Abiy Ahmed’s government was already underway.  Two days after a military action that claimed at least three lives and displaced tens of thousands, Tadesse Worede – deputy Tigray region president who also led the TPLF army during the two years war- announced that the areas that TPLF controlled in Raya Alamata areas are in accordance with agreement/consultation with Abiy Ahmed’s government. 

And this is where Ethiopia’s ruling party veils the TPLF action in Raya. Adem Farah is deputy chair of Prosperity Party. About two weeks ago, Abiy Ahmed appointed him as “Democratic System Building Coordination Center Head.”  Apparently, the center is within the Prime Minister’s Office. 

In an interview with the state-owned media, EBC, this week, Adem said “All parties have to be compliant with the law…and that there is no problem that could be resolved through conflict, provocation and causing social unrest.”  His statement lacked clarity especially in view of the report that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was already having consultation with the TPLF and in view of the claim on the part of TPLF authorities that Raya was controlled in accordance with the agreement with  the Federal government. 

He added that an activity that obstructs peaceful and democratic ways of resolving the problem “violates the Pretoria agreement, causes social unrest in Tigray region or neighboring Afar and Amhara regions.” In view of the fact that TPLF recaptured areas in Alamata militarily, not “democratically,” that narrative that sees “all sides’ ‘ in recent development may rather mean a tacit support to the TPLF. 

But it is now apparent that the TPLF is making another military move in what western powers and TPLF forces refer to as “Western Tigray.”  Yesterday, eight Ethiopian Organizations released a statement warning the Federal government that its position on Wolkait and Raya will lead to perpetual conflict rather than resolving the issue. But the ruling party seems to be primarily interested in  veiling TPLF’s militarism. Bizarre, the Pretoria Peace agreement emerged as a cover for it. 

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