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News: Federal gov’t pledges to redouble efforts to fully implement Pretoria peace deal, criticizes disarmament delays

The Signing of CoHA in Pretoria, South Africa on 02 November 2022 (Photo:AU)

Addis Abeba – The Federal Government of Ethiopia has pledged to redouble commitment to fully implement the Pretoria Peace Agreement, despite encountering delays from the Tigray interim administration particularly in disarming ex-combatants.

In a statement issued by the Federal Government’s Communication Service on the occasion of the agreement’s first anniversary, the government expressed its unwavering resolve to maintain its responsibilities under the pact, with the objective of solidifying peace in the region.

The statement outlined the numerous steps taken by the federal government to adhere to the agreement, aimed at normalizing life in the northern region of Ethiopia. These measures include halting military operations against the TPLF, expediting humanitarian assistance, and setting up a Rehabilitation Commission for demobilizing ex-TPLF combatants.

It also noted significant strides in trust-building, such as the removal of the terrorist designation of the TPLF and the release of prisoners. Moreover, the establishment of an interim regional administration and the formulation of a national transitional justice policy were highlighted as foundational steps toward achieving lasting peace.

Discussions over “contested areas” have been facilitated between contesting regional states, the statement said, adding that agreement was reached that these contested areas would see the return of displaced residents, establishment of administrations elected from local people, deployment of federal security forces, and ultimately a referendum in the localities to determine their final status.

“The Federal Government has gone above and beyond its obligations under the Peace Agreement to realize its noble objectives,” read the statement. It stated that the federal government refrained from insisting upon the timelines for disarmament set out in the Agreement, inclusion in the interim administration and deploying a large contingent of armed and security forces in Mekelle despite despite provisions of the agreement in a bid to build trust and “to ensure harmony and expeditious recovery of the region.

The statement stressed the need for “reciprocity on both sides” for sustainable peace, and in particular criticized the delay in disarmament from the Tigray side. “Keeping combatants that could have served their people in different public roles remains a challenge. Similarly, the disarmament process requires an inventory of heavy armaments handed over and a full handing over of small and light arms, which still remain rampant in the region.”

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It called on partners to support and encourage all parties to adhere to the agreement, while also expressing the Ethiopian government’s full commitment to consolidate peace and redouble its efforts to ensure the full implementation of the peace agreement.

On Thursday, 10 countries commended the progress made following the peace agreement, and urged all parties to implement the agreement in full. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the “Agreement silenced the guns and ended a horrific two-year war that killed hundreds of thousands and forced millions to flee their homes.” However, he acknowledged that more actions are needed to bring lasting peace and stability to Tigray. AS

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