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News: EU sees return to full relations with Ethiopia “subject to” sustained implementation of CoHA

Addis Abeba – The Council yesterday said it looks forward to “a normalization of relations with Ethiopia and stands ready to support further progress on its path towards lasting peace.” However, the block said that it “will progressively return” to a full and strengthened strategic engagement with Ethiopia subject to “a sustained implementation” of the permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed between the federal government and the TPLF, and has once again reiterated “its full support for the agreement.”

“The EU commends the continued commitment demonstrated by both sides and welcomes the significant progress in the implementation of the CoHA, notably in terms of silencing guns, facilitating improved humanitarian access, and launching the National Rehabilitation Commission to address disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR),” the EU further said.  

The block commends the establishment of the African Union Monitoring, Verification, and Compliance Mission (AU-MVCM), the delisting of TPLF as a terrorist organization, the advancement in the restoration of public services, the appointment of an interim administration in Tigray, as well as the ongoing development of a national policy on transitional justice, as examples of the “significant progress” that has been made and remains one of the EU’s key priorities.

It also welcomed the Green Paper on transitional justice and and said it “encourages the government to keep taking proactive steps to advance the options contained therein in accordance with international human rights standards and supported by an international component, such as the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR). 

However it reiterated that “independent, transparent, and impartial investigations into all allegations of violations and abuses of human rights, as well as violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law, committed by all parties, are urgent and essential.” The EU added that it “looks forward to the final report to be presented by the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) at the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.”

On the other hand, the EU has expressed “serious concern” regarding escalating tensions, alleged violations and abuses of human rights, and violence in various parts of the country, including in Oromia and Amhara, and urged “de-escalation and dialogue to achieve durable peace and stability through political, democratic means.”

Although the EU welcomed the improved humanitarian access to the majority of the conflict-affected areas in northern Ethiopia, it pointed out at the widespread humanitarian needs, including in other parts of the country affected by severe drought and other crises, require an adequate and well-coordinated response.

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The EU suspended its budget support for Ethiopia in January 2021 over the war in Tigray. “We are ready to help, but unless there is access for humanitarian aid operators, the EU cannot disburse the planned budget support to the Ethiopian government,” EU’s High Representative, Josep Borrell, said at the time.

The EU suspended its budget support for Ethiopia in January 2021 over the war in Tigray. “We are ready to help, but unless there is access for humanitarian aid operators, the EU cannot disburse the planned budget support to the Ethiopian government,”EU’s High Representative, Josep Borrell, said at the time. 

After six months of review, the EU Council held the block’s position and said in June 2022 that despite some progress, it was “not enough for the full normalization.” The block called out, once again, for the “immediate and complete” withdrawal of Eritrean troops as part of the full compliance with the CoHA. 

Last year, in December, the European Union said resuming its “strategic engagement with Ethiopia” requires the “sustained implementation” of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA), including through political dialogue. The block has also once again called for “an immediate and complete withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia.” AS

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