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Abiy Ahmed holds first post-peace deal meeting with Tigray leaders

February 3, 2023
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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday held his first face-to-face meeting with Tigrayan leaders since a peace deal was agreed last year, officials and state media said.

The talks took place almost three months to the day since the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed an agreement to silence the guns after two years of brutal war.

Abiy’s national security adviser Redwan Hussein said on Twitter that the prime minister and other officials met a TPLF delegation “regarding the progress of the peace process”.

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“As a result, PM Abiy passed decisions about increasing Flights, Banking & other issues that would boost trust & ease lives of civilians,” he tweeted.

State media said it was the first time Abiy had joined the so-called Peace Agreement Implementation Coordination Committee set up after the November 2 breakthrough deal signed in the South African capital Pretoria.

Those attending included Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen and armed forces chief Birhanu Jula, along with top Tigrayan military commander Tsadkan Gebretensae and TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda, pictures on state media showed.

 

Getachew said in an interview with the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation that the discussions covered the opening up of the banking sector and land transport to Tigray.

“Both on the part of the (Tigrayan) leadership and the Tigrayan people, there’s no interest in a return to war,” he added.

The two sides evaluated “actions carried out on the implementation of the Pretoria and Nairobi peace agreements so far”, the EBC said, referring to a followup deal hammered out in the Kenyan capital on November 12.

They also discussed issues that “need further attention,” it said, adding that the meeting took place at a resort in southern Ethiopia.

– Humanitarian crisis –

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The devastating conflict that erupted in November 2020 has killed untold numbers of civilians, displaced more than two million and left millions more in need of humanitarian aid.

Under the terms of the November agreements, the TPLF agreed to disarm and re-establish the authority of the federal government in return for the restoration of access to Tigray, which was largely cut off from the outside world during the war.

Since the deal, there has been some resumption of aid deliveries to Tigray, which has long faced dire shortages of food, fuel, cash and medicines.

Basic services such as communications, banking and electricity are slowly being restored to the stricken region of six million people, with national carrier Ethiopian Airlines resuming commercial flights between Addis Ababa and Tigray’s capital Mekele last month.

The TPLF announced it has begun disarming, while the United States said late last month there was an “ongoing withdrawal” of troops from neighbouring Eritrea who fought alongside government forces.

But local residents and aid workers say the Eritrean army and forces from the neighbouring region of Amhara remain in parts of Tigray and accuse them of murder, rape and looting.

– Atrocities –

The United States has imposed sanctions on Eritrea over its role in the conflict, with its soldiers accused of carrying out some of the worst atrocities.

Asmara was not a party to the November deals, which called for the pullout of foreign and non-Ethiopian federal government forces, but there was no specific mention of Eritrea, one of the world’s most closed-off countries whose regime considers the TPLF its arch-enemy.

Access to Tigray is restricted, and it is impossible to verify independently the situation on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government has embarked on a diplomatic offensive seeking support for its bid to stop the work of a UN-backed body tasked with investigating human rights in the country.

State minister for foreign affairs Mesganu Arga has held talks with ambassadors from the United States and Britain, among others, to push for an end to the mandate of what he termed a “politically biased” commission, state media reported Friday.

In its first report in September last year, the commission said it had found evidence of a wide range of violations by all sides that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The war began after Abiy, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in part for rapprochement with Eritrea, sent troops into Tigray, accusing the TPLF of attacking army bases there.

The United States has said the death toll from the conflict could be as high as 500,000 while African Union envoy Olusegun Obasanjo has put it at up to 600,000.

str-txw/bp

9 Comments

  1. EPRDF. The blood of millions of innocent civilians is on your hands. Great to see that you are congregating together to receive the wrath of God that you all deserve.

  2. This is an OPDO and TPLF meeting to exonerate each other from possible criminal charges and avoid prison terms if not more. OPDO has TPLF delcared terrorist by the parliament which it has not asked lifted. Declaration of parliament has the force of law which the executive led by OPDO chief cannot be violated. OPDO should have had the declaration lifted even before it started negotiation with TPLF. Even the agreement under which OPDO operates is not been presented and adopted by parliament. The anti-terrorism proclamation in force prohibits any kind of communication with terrorist organization before the designation is lifted. The effect of violating the proclamation makes all the wrong effort null and void.

    What’s surprising is the Miniter of Justice (MoJ) is at the center of this illegal process. He’s supposed to know the law of the land and addvise the OPDO led executive to respect the law of the country. Prosecutors of the MoJ charge thousands of people every day for simple crimes while letting pass serious ones such as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity . Luckily there is no period of limitation for these crimes and those who are involved in these crimes will sometime in the future will face justice.

    TPLF was accusing OPDO for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity . Now it sits face to face with a camp it was accusing to discuss peace. Why did it abandon its accusations? It’s scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Exonerate me for anything I did and I’ll do the same. That’s what this meeting is all about. But, as I said, it is a matter of time ; there is no eoneration from war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

    On top of exoneration, what OPDO 9paricularly) what its leader achieved is to please the U.S. at the coast of his alienation from the support of the peoples of Amhara, Afar and millions of others. No wonder if OPDO leader flees to the U.S. when the sun sets.

  3. Very good news. For me it is always good when guns go silent and innocent citizens get the well deserved respite from death and destruction. To start with it is a shame that a war and a bloody one had to be fought for utterly stupid reasons. Now it is so quiet that you can hear a pin drop there in Tigray and adjacent regions of Afar and Amhara. Everything possible and available should be done to maintain the current peace and avoid future stupid conflicts. For these reasons I applaud both sides for having the will, courage and trust to meet face to face for the first time in more than 2 years. God speed!!!

  4. Abiy Amhed, good job. Glad to see him talking to Tigrean leaders. Ethiopia needs peace and a government focused on economic growth and creating jobs for millions of young Ethiopian. Of courses, those who have political hatred against past and current party leaders want to see nothing less than vengeance and the destruction of their enemies at the expense of Ethiopian society. We are all behind the peace agreement. We hope the next round of discussions will include Eritreans.

  5. Look the appearance of Abiy Ahme Ali’s image show his fears tplf Junta, he looks scary like cat, his eyes look like positive murder. … As he spoke he looked over the wall. Abiy is a positive murderer

  6. ABA FARDA,

    STUPID, Stupid, stupid to say “(N)ow it is so quiet that you can hear a pin drop there in Tigray and adjacent regions of Afar and Amhara.” TPLF is still in illegal occupation of some areas in Amhara and Afar regions which leader of Beltsegna Party (BP) who sat to discuss peace with TPLF is unwilling and/or unable to ask TPLF withdraw. The proxy regional BP agents in Amhara and Afar are not doing anything about it. So, it is the concern of civil defense foces in the said regions to who might take action to force TPLF end its illegal occupations. Attempt to build Tigray empire will not succeed.

    It’s true that the war was “fought for utterly stupid reasons”, but where is the accountability of the people who are responsible for the war? I don’t see justice done for victims who lost their lives and theiir families that are still in mourning, women and children who were raped, people who lost propery to robbery and destruction, massive dispacement, etc. etc. Reports of AI, Genocide Watch, HRW, U.S. government, EU and even our own human rights organizations have established these crimes committed by TPLF and the BP led government as well. Simply put, the parties that fought ” for utterly stupid reasons” are now discussing stupid peace. As the saying goes, “no peace without justice”. It’ll be back to square one.

    BP led government officials and TPLF leaders hug and shake hands believing they have close the war chapter and opened a peace chapter. The fact of the matter is BP controlled areas (other than Tigray) are in full blown ethnic and religious civil war and Tigray is internally in anarchy. Silencing the guns in Tigray has not led to peace anywhere in the region or elsewhere. Just in Tigray, there are tens of thousands – if not hundreds – of young men and women who have been killing, raping, looting and dispacing Amhara and Afar without any help to change their predatory behaviour. Don’t forget that they are still armed. If some of these make it to colleges and universities, I’ll give up my studies and go home.

    Transitional justice bragged about widely is put in the back burner. This means Getachew Redda will not tell us why he sent tens of thousands – if not hundreds – of Tigrean youth to Amhara region to “settle accounts”. That was a Mafia like talk to which Getachew Redda was expected to respond to. These youth killed rapied, looted and dispaced millions. How are they to pay for what they did? Nobody knows. They might simply melt in to the wider public with their guns on their hips. That’s what BP and TPLF call peace.

    Not long ago, the U.S. where ABA FARDA lives made a statement that all parties to the conflict have committed crimes and should be accountable for their acts. They are no more insisting on that position because of the “transitioanl justice” which exonerates actors in the war. Instead of felicitating BP and TPLF, ABA FARDA should have asked the U.S. to push on its position for accountability. Again “no peace without justice” .

    Looking forward for ABA FARDA to change tune.

    • The way you started talking to me shows how you were raised up. You must be one of those eyalalsouqs who grew up at bazzaars unattended. When I, you and the rest of the world know that the guns of TPLF, ENDF and others have gone dead silent that you can hear a pin drop. Having said that I am not remiss of the current nightmare those upright people of Tigray are now dealing with on a daily basis. Former ragtag fighters of the TPLF have turned their hand guns and knives on their own people. Robberies, rapes and senseless homicides are being reported in Mekele and other towns there. Weren’t we told that the TPLF had/has one of the most disciplined army anywhere? These are nothing but miscreants and demons. The way you talk about me and the choice of repugnant terms in your comment do not make you any different from these former ‘fighters’ turned hoodlums. Out of my sight!!!

      • Make that: When I, you and the rest of the world know that the guns of TPLF, ENDF and others have gone dead silent that you can hear a pin drop your lack of knowledge of this fact is beyond comprehension.

  7. While we are all understandably concerned about and focused on what is going on in the old country there is another war that has been raging for a few years now in Eastern Europe. The war in Ukraine is getting closer and closer to an all out war involving more and more European countries which means unprecedented calamity in the offing. The despot in Moscow could turn reckless and morbidly dangerous once he realizes his back is against the wall. His other compadre in Beijing has started playing with fire now. Folks, these two dictators along with other religious fanatics are bringing the world closer to extinction. These dictators are hell bent to rule the world as their personal fiefdom and they are nuclear armed. They had already told their citizens their way is the only way. Otherwise it will not be worth a living. The commies in Beijing have been telling their citizens since the 1950’s that if there will be World War Three the worst scenario is only 500 million Chinese will die and the rest will win the war. The world has never been to such extremely dangerous war footing.

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