BY EMBASSY OF ETHIOPIA – LONDON
May 2, 2023 marks six months since Cessation of Hostilities Agreement was signed between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in Pretoria, South Africa.
Thereupon, the government of Ethiopia held an “Enough with War – Let’s Celebrate Peace” recognition ceremony on April 23, 2023 to denote the closing of the country’s chapter of war in the North and to celebrate the dividends of the Pretoria Peace Accord, as well as to recognize parties that significantly contributed towards its successful implementation.
The ceremony was attended by Ethiopian High Federal Government Officials, including the Prime Minister, Chief Administrators of all regional states, including the Tigray interim Administration, former Presidents of African nations, AUC Chairperson and commissioners, AU high level panel, Horn of Africa Representatives, UN, and other distinguished guests.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed applauded the African Union-led and Ethiopian-owned peace process that demonstrated effectiveness of the “African Solutions to African Problems” maxim. The premier further stated that Ethiopia is indebted to the dedication and leadership of the AU high-level panel and all friends of Ethiopia for the success of the Pretoria Peace Agreement.
The AU high-level Panel members commended the government’s commitment to uphold and sustain peace and described the steps taken in the interests of peace as bold and steadfast. As mentioned by AU High Representative to the Horn, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the international community needs to work with and support the people and government of Ethiopia in sustaining peace, reconstruction of infrastructures, rehabilitation and rebuilding of communities affected by the conflict.
Furthermore, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat applauded the determination of the Federal Government and the TPLF to silence the guns in favour of peace and national reconciliation. The Chairperson also reiterated the importance of Ethiopia’s role in the region for peacebuilding, security, and sustainable development.
Moreover, having learnt from the two-year conflict, Ethiopians now understand the need to nurture the culture of resolving differences through dialogue rather than seeking forceful mechanisms. It is now clear that forgiveness is instrumental in avoiding conflict and war, and reconciliation is a mechanism to rectify past mistakes.
As part of Ethiopia’s continued commitment to resolve differences through dialogue, the first round of peace talks was held in Tanzania concerning the conflict in Oromia regional state. While the talks have been largely constructive, unfortunately, it was not possible to reach an agreement on some issues during the first round of talks.
DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILISATION AND REINTEGRATION
The National Rehabilitation Commission is developing a significant DDR (Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration) programme in accordance with the terms of the peace agreement.
In this regard, the NRC has been holding discussions all over the country to consolidate the DDR and National Rehabilitation Program (NRP). After a series of consultation in different regional state aiming at moving forward by drawing appropriate lessons from the conflict, the NRC’s consultations with regional state administrators and partners have come to an end in the city of Hawassa, Southern Ethiopia.
The NRC has also been meeting with AUC and other partners and donors aiming at explaining the steps taken in DDR and NRP. The NRC was encouraged to witness the commitment of regional state and partners to support the peace process. The NRC welcomes the support by partners and donors to the national rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
In addition, NRC Commissioner Ambassador Teshome Toga held an important discussion with Tigray region’s interim administration to evaluate the progress made and point out the remaining tasks of the DDR. He also stated that disarmament is a priority and initial step to fully implement the program. In such score, the TPLF has handed over first round of light and medium size weapons.
On the discussion, an agreement was reached with the interim administration on the necessary conditions to further accelerate the remaining tasks. On the same note, to further vitalize the peace process and show solidarity with the people of Tigray, a delegation consisting of regional state presidents, ministers, mayors of the Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa cities and other higher officials have paid a visit to Tigray regional state and have pledge to provide more than 1.6billion Birr worth of financial and in-kind support toward rehabilitation efforts in Tigray region.
THE SUDAN SITUATION
It is to be noted that Ethiopia is deeply concerned over the crisis in Sudan. The government and people of Ethiopia sympathise with those who lost their lives and caught in the crossfire. Subsequently, Ethiopia concurs that immediate action is required to help the parties to the conflict in Sudan to reach a peaceful solution.
Ethiopia is optimistic that the people of Sudan will find a Sudanese solution to restore peace and order. Ethiopia believes that for any solutions or efforts to end the violence and the restart of the political process to be successful, it must fully be owned and managed by the Sudanese parties.
In this regard, third-party unwise and unsettling meddling and intervention should be discouraged. Instead, the resumption of the political process must include those actors under the trilateral AU-IGAD-UN forum. Ethiopia further wishes to stress that the proliferation of initiatives is counterproductive.
On the other hand, Ethiopia strongly condemns any false allegations that aim to distort the good neighbourly relations between Ethiopia and the Sudan citing false narratives on the border issue between the two countries.
Furthermore, ever since the conflict in Sudan broke out, the government of Ethiopia is doing all it could to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its citizens. In addition, as part of its international obligation, the government assisted citizens of diverse countries evacuating into and through Ethiopia.
In this regard, Ethiopia calls on the international community to provide humanitarian assistance for the refugees entering Ethiopia from Sudan.