For Survivors of Ethiopia’s Tigray War, Truce Brings Cautious Hope

NAIROBI — A cease-fire deal in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has raised cautious hope among millions of people impacted by the bloody two-year conflict that their anguish could be coming to an end.

 

Many civilians are also reflecting on the terrible losses they suffered, and look to promised aid to rebuild their lives after a war that has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands facing famine.

 

“I’m very happy — because this will put a hold on the suffering,” said a Tigrayan man in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa who declined to be named out of fear of repercussions at his place of work.

 

“The positivity comes from humanitarian assistance and the restoration of basic services,” he said, referring to pledges made by Tigrayan regional forces and the federal government in a joint statement on Wednesday after eight days of formal peace talks.

The two sides agreed to “a permanent cessation of hostilities” and to “systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament,” but the scars are still fresh and run deep.

 

All sides fighting in the Tigray war committed violations that may amount to war crimes, according to a joint investigation by the United Nations and Ethiopia’s state-appointed human rights commission.

Last month, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is from Tigray, said food and health care were being used as weapons of war in the region, which has been largely cut off from the outside world.

 

Hospitals have run out of crucial medicines, while hundreds of thousands are teetering on the brink of famine.

 

The Ethiopian government has repeatedly denied blocking humanitarian supplies to Tigray.

 

“My father — we haven’t spoken to him in more than three years. We haven’t even gotten any voice messages from him,” the Tigrayan man in Addis Ababa told Reuters.

 

Another man, Molla, who declined to use his full name, said he was in his home in the northern Amhara town of Kobo when Tigrayan fighters attacked in September last year.

 

Human Rights Watch, citing witnesses, said 23 civilians were killed by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters in Kobo at that time. Tigray leaders said they would punish any fighters targeting non-combatants.

 

“They shot at us. My brothers died, we had to bury [them],” said Molla, who escaped with a bullet wound in his shoulder. “We would be happy if this is a real peace. We would be so relieved. We will have to find a way to stop re-living the past.”

 

‘We lost everything’

 

The seesawing fortunes of the belligerents saw Tigray forces advance to within a day’s drive of Addis Ababa in November last year, prompting some foreign embassies to evacuate all but essential staff, but the TPLF was later pushed back.

 

Last month, the government made significant battlefield gains, capturing several large towns in Tigray, before the two sides finally sat down face to face in Pretoria, South Africa.

“We lost everything. Just, literally everything,” said Andom Gebreyesus, who ran a tour company in Tigray before the war.

 

He managed to escape to Kenya with his children but, like many, has not heard from the rest of his family in more than a year.

 

The cessation of hostilities may bring relief to them, he said, but is unlikely to offer lasting peace.

 

“It’s the most … the most unreachable place. No communication, no power, no banking system. I don’t even know if they are alive. I don’t know.”

 

Source: Voice of America

UN Hopeful Rights Abuses Will Cease With Tigray-Ethiopian Truce

GENEVA — The U.N. Human Rights Committee welcomes the truce between the Ethiopian government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front, saying it should improve the human rights situation in that embattled region. The committee concluded a three-week examination Friday of six countries, including Ethiopia.

 

The committee, which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, issued its final observations this week. The 18-member panel called for investigations into allegations of widespread human rights violations against civilians by all parties to the conflict in Tigray and parts of Afar and Amhara in northern Ethiopia.

 

Committee Vice-Chair Christopher Arif Bulkan said members of the panel agreed those found guilty of crimes should be prosecuted and punished, and victims should receive full reparations for their suffering and losses.

 

“The Committee urged Ethiopia to protect freedom of expression, citing harassment, attacks, arbitrary arrests, and detentions of dissidents, as well as the use of criminal provisions to silence dissent,” he said. “It also notes unjustified and prolonged internet and phone shutdowns and requests that all such restrictions be legal, proportional and independently overseen.”

 

Bulkan said women and children were the main victims of severe human rights violations. He noted state agents were not the only perpetrators of this abuse. He said militias and competing ethnic groups also were guilty of these crimes.

 

“The scale of the violence was very disheartening and tragic — involving women, involving children, militarization of children,” he said. :So, news of the truce is extremely welcome, and conceivably, it should impact positively because it was in the context of the war that so many of these abuses, we observed were abuses of many covenant rights.”

 

These include the right to life, the prohibition against torture, and guarantees and protection of civil and political rights, including freedom of expression, assembly, and association.

 

Bulkan said there will be considerable improvement in the human rights situation in Ethiopia if the peace agreement between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front holds, removing the impetus behind these violations.

 

Source: Voice of America

FSD Eying Investment Potentials in Ethiopia, Peace Agreement Will Put Economic Growth Back on Track: CEO

Fonds Souverain de Djibouti (FSD) —Djibouti Sovereign Fund is exploring investment potentials in industry, real estate, agribusiness, and tourism— committing 20 per cent of the fund to Ethiopia, and the peace agreement signed between the Government of Ethiopia and TPLF will put country’s economic growth back on track, Djibouti Sovereign Fund CEO Slim Feriani said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Djibouti Sovereign Fund CEO Slim Feriani said that Ethiopia and Djibouti’s strong strategic partnership will have significant impact in accelerating economic integration.

FSD aims to diversify and modernize the country’s economy as well as boost the growth of the country by relying on a competitive private sector and generating wealth for future generations, he added.

Though FSD started recently, we are fast tracking things and there are very low hanging fruits and quick wins that we’re working on in and outside of Djibouti, he pointed out.

The mandate of the sovereign wealth fund  as said by his excellency President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh, is that up to 60 percent of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Djibouti could be invested outside of Djibouti with twenty percent that has got to be with Ethiopia one way or another. So there is no stronger message in terms of the strong belief in the brotherly relationship,” Feriani revealed.

According to him, the aim of Sovereign Wealth Fund of Djibouti is diversifying the risks by engaging in international investment.

We are exploring sector wise; I mean the things where we can benefit [is from sectors]that we don’t have, for example, in Djibouti the industrial sector is not much of an industry manufacturing industry and there is here; and that is an obvious area but it could be in other areas. To be honest, I have seen some really impressive real estate development,” he pointed out.

Both Ethiopia and Djibouti will benefit from becoming as a hub for the rest of Africa in terms of air, railway and road, he stated, adding that there is a lot of infrastructure that can be further utilized.

Ethiopia has world class hotels in terms of tourism, he said, and noted “who knows, maybe some operators from here could be interested or we would be interested in also linking up with some of the best breed as inputs.

Speaking of the recent peace agreement signed in South Africa to end the conflict in the northern part of the country, the CEO said:

In terms of risk, yes the peace treaty reduces the risk. Now for us, Djibouti we perceive the risk of Ethiopia always lower than anyone else because you know we feel far more comfortable. No matter irrespective of, you know, good, bad times but today it shows that the risk has reduced for everyone. So, we believe the next two, three, four, five years, we’re going to see back Ethiopia on track into the economic growth,” Feriani elaborated.

FSD aims to diversify and modernize the country’s economy as well as boost the growth of the country by relying on a competitive private sector and generating wealth for future generations. Key state-owned enterprises-from utilities, and logistics to telcom – are now its portfolio to drive their modernization.

 

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Leaders, Friends of Ethiopia Express Readiness to Support Execution of Peace Deal

World leaders, countries and organizations have welcomed the peace agreement signed between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and affirmed their commitment to support its implementation.

It is to be recalled that the Government of Ethiopia has been striving to avoid such devastating conflict and resolve differences peacefully before and during the conflict.

The government has also been constantly expressing its readiness to engage in the African Union-led peace talk firmly believing in African solutions for African problems.

Finally, the government and the TPLF have agreed to bring normalcy based on respecting and upholding the country’s constitution, territorial integrity, and sovereignty.

Reactions from the Rest of the World on the Peace Deal

Following the historic peace deal signed in Pretoria, South Africa, leaders around the world, and friends of Ethiopia across the globe expressed their happiness over the productive conclusion of the AU-led peace talk and have congratulated Ethiopia and those actors who facilitated and engaged in the negotiation.

In addition to the congratulatory messages, countries and other international actors have affirmed their commitment to support the implementation of the peace agreement and bring lasting peace in the country.

Following the agreement, President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, tweeted: “I welcome the successful conclusion in Pretoria of the cessation of hostilities agreement under the auspices of the AU.

“Congratulations to the combined efforts of all in forming the wish to see this agreement bring security, peace and prosperity to our region and to our Ethiopian brothers.”

Similarly, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted: “We welcome the agreement reached between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front on the cessation of the hostilities in northern Ethiopia at the peace talks hosted by the Republic of South Africa, and we hope it to be a lasting one.”

It added, “we reiterate our readiness to give all kinds of support to friendly and brotherly Ethiopia for the establishment of peace and tranquility in Ethiopia.”

The other friendly country that praised the peace deal and reaffirmed its commitment is Russia.  The Embassy here in Addis Ababa stated that “the Embassy welcomes the agreements reached by the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the TPLF on November 2, 2022 to cease hostilities in Northern Ethiopia.

“We hope that the signed Peace Agreement will serve as a solid foundation for completing the process of national reconciliation, reconstruction of the affected regions and securing stability for the sake of prosperity of all Ethiopian people.”

China’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Zhao Zhiyuan praised the African Union for its crucial role for making the peace in South Africa. “We welcome and appreciate the peace agreement reached by the relevant parties under the auspices of the African Union.”

The African Union Commission Chairperson, Mussa Faki Mahamat who has been active in facilitating the peace talk wrote, “I warmly commend the Parties for signing cessations of hostilities agreement following talks facilitated by the AU Panel.”

African Union is committed to continue supporting the Parties to find lasting peace and reconciliation for all, he added.

Among others, the U.S State Department also commended the peace agreement as a good step to ensure lasting peace in Ethiopia. “We welcome the momentous step taken in Pretoria today to advance the African Union’s campaign to ‘silence the guns’ with the signing of a cessation of hostilities between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

“We commend the parties for taking this initial step to agree to end the fighting and continue dialogue to resolve outstanding issues to consolidate peace and bring an end to almost two years of conflict,” the statement read.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres also appreciated the agreement for lasting peace through a permanent cessation of hostilities brokered by the African Union and mediated by the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as a promising start.

The Secretary-General urged all Ethiopians and the international community to support the bold step taken on Wednesday by the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the TPLF.

The 10 days long AU-led Ethiopia’s peace talks concluded on Wednesday when both sides signed an agreement to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia and  uphold the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, implement transitional measures, expedite humanitarian aid, and resume public services, among others.

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Ethiopia Should Take Best Experience to COP27 Summit, Says Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa Coordinator

Ethiopia should take its best experience to the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC or COP27 summit, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) General Coordinator Million Belay said.
 

The main agenda of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC or COP27, in Egypt is most probably about mitigation, adaptation, reparation, and finance, among others.

Alliance for Food Sovereignty for Africa (AFSA) General Coordinator, Million told ENA that mitigation is invasive, really, especially for the West.

There are a number of companies in these countries (the West) that are only interested in increasing their oil prospects, coal, gases and others, which is why this is a big agenda, he said.

The other issue is reparation, because countries like Ethiopia and other African countries have not caused the climate crisis but are in crisis, he noted, adding that for the drought, famine, and floods we face due to the negligence of the others we have to be given money because they have actually missed the point.

In the COP 27 Summit to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Ethiopia should share its best experience as there are many initiatives Ethiopia should present to the COP 27 Summit, Million stated.

“I think Ethiopia should share its experience, like the Green Legacy Initiative, to the world. It should also adapt agroecology as the best adaptation mechanism because of agriculture. Agroecology should be Ethiopia’s agenda.”

The general coordinator pointed out that Ethiopia has an organic agriculture policy and a policy on composting, which should be supported by the international community.

The COP27 Sharm el-Sheikh summit organized by the UN will be held from November 6 to 18, with the aim of bringing governments together to accelerate efforts to curb the world’s climate crisis.

Heads of State, ministers and negotiators, along with climate activists, civil society representatives and CEOs will meet in the Egyptian coastal city for the largest annual gathering on climate action.

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP27 will build on the outcomes of  COP26 to deliver action on an array of issues critical to tackling the climate emergency, it was learned.

The summit will deliberate on issues from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, to delivering on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries.

 

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Arab Diplomats Laud Peace Agreement

The ambassadors of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as Sudan’s military attaché said the the peace agreement between the Government of Ethiopia and TPLF is an important step because the stability of Ethiopia is the stability of the countries surrounding Ethiopia.

In an exclusive interview with the Ethiopian News Agency, Fahad Al-Hamidani, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia said that the peace agreement is an important step for Ethiopia’s prosperity and that the Saudi government and people welcome the peace agreement.

” We hope that peace and stability will prevail in Ethiopia.”

The ambassador added that this peace deal will reflect positively on the economy of Ethiopia for  the country will become economically one of the strongest nation in Africa.

Ambassador Al-Hamidani also praised the role of the African Union.

“We welcome and thank the African Union in resolving the issue. The African Union has made efforts to find African solutions for African problems, which has resulted in achieving peace.”

Kuwait’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Nayef Al-Otaibi, said on his part that the State of Kuwait has issued a statement welcoming the peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF, saying that it is a step forward to peace.

The ambassador pointed out that war drains money and prevents national development. So, political stability is important not only for Ethiopia, but for all countries in the world.

Ambassador Al-Otaibi praised the efforts of the Ethiopian government in achieving peace and all the steps taken to the realization of the peace agreement.

Sudan’s military attaché Brigadier General Abdul Majeed Anas Omar said we thank and support the patience and persistence shown by the Ethiopian government to reach this agreement as it was a good tiding for all African nations.

He said the war had its effect not only on Ethiopia but also on Sudan, and added that the people of Sudan had good tidings from that agreement.

Brigadier General Abdul Majeed Anas Omar pointed out that the peace agreement will make Ethiopia move forward by being the capital of Africa and the headquarters of the African Union and hosting diplomatic missions, making it the third country after America and Switzerland.

 

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Ethiopia’s Resolve for Peace Agreement with TPLF Through Africa Union Initiative Commendable: Professor Getachew

The peace agreement signed between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF, giving the African Union the preeminent role in trying to solve the conflict was commendable, Morgan State University Political Science and International Relations, Professor Getachew Metaferia said.

The Ethiopian Peace Talks Delegation and the TPLF signed an agreement on 2 November, 2022 for lasting peace and permanent cessation of hostilities.

Speaking to ENA, Professor Getachew said Ethiopian government has taken a laudable stand by giving the African Union the preeminent role in trying to solve the conflict.

“In the Tigray conflict, and even in the GERD disagreement with Egypt, the Ethiopian government has taken a laudable stand by giving the African Union the preeminent role in trying to solve the conflict,” he stated.

“It [Ethiopia] correctly stood behind the truism of “African Solutions to African Problems.”

The AU is headquartered in Addis Ababa and Ethiopia played a significant role in the birth of OAU in 1963, the precursor of the current AU he said, adding “it, therefore, behooves Ethiopia to uphold the AU and call on it to fulfill one of its mandates of promoting peace, security, and stability in Africa.”

Moreover, Professor added that the peace agreement signed between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF is welcome news.

All peace-loving people, especially the most affected people of Tigray and the rest of the country, have been longing for a robust and durable peace, the professor added.

He said “they are the winners in this, and I would like to congratulate them.”

Both the Federal Government of Ethiopia and TPLF as well as AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the South African government, and all others who tirelessly worked behind-the-scenes are the winners and must be congratulated, he elaborated.

“It must be recognized that peace is a prerequisite for a country’s sustainable development, to ensure human security, and eventually realize quality life. I would, therefore, say that what was so far achieved in South Africa was momentous.”

Professor Getachew commended the agreement underlining that  sovereign Ethiopia must have a single national defense force.

Moreover, professor Getachew stated that we have also to be realistic and expect that enemies of peace could work to undermine this noble effort in desire of a direct or indirect control on the process and promote their sinister schemes.

“That must be expected and factored in our imagination and calculation. I also hope that the agreement was reached in good faith,” he indicated.

Professor also expressed his hope that the regular members of the TPLF, at least the majority, would be satisfied with the accord, accept, and help the agreement be realized.

“Peace in Ethiopia is decisive for the entire Horn of Africa,” he said, adding it is bounded by six countries and its population claim extended family ties and affinities with those in the adjacent countries.

Professor Getachew pointed out that Ethiopia’s long history, population, economic potential, military, and diplomatic role in the region and beyond must be reckoned when we talk of the Horn of Africa and the continent.

“A destabilized and unstable Ethiopia, whether we like it or not, is a bad omen for Africa and a gloomy harbinger for what could unfold in the continent. That is why African countries closely follow what happens in Ethiopia and steadfastly stand behind her,” he noted.

 

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency