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News: Ruling party’s peace negotiation team holds first meeting

Picture showing the first meeting by the ruling party’s seven member peace negotiation team. Picture: Amb. redwan Hussien

Addis Abeba – Ambassador Redwan Hussien, Security Advisor of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said that the seven member peace negotiation team held its first meeting on 12 July.

“The peace alternative main committee held its meeting today 12 July. [The committee) has discussed and decided on its own course of action and code of ethics for the discussions to be held under the leadership of the African Union. By organizing sub-committees it has also divided responsibilities and began its work,” AMb. Redwan tweeted.

Announced by the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) on 27 June, the seven member team that is expected to conduct peace talks with Tigrayan authorities is chaired by Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and is composed of six other members namely: Ambassador Redwan Hussien, Gedion Timothewos (PhD), Minister of Justice, Temesgen Tiruneh, Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Lt. Gen. Berhanu Bekele, Chief of Military Intelligence office (former head of the Republican Guard), Ambassador Hassan Abdulkadir, Coordinator, Prosperity Party’s Democratic System Office, and Dr. Getachew Jember, Deputy President of Amhara regional state.

The team was announced shortly after the Minister of Justice Gedion said that the ruling party’s executive and central committee meetings “put a direction” to peace alternatives “in a manner that respects the constitution and national interest” of the country and “facilitated by the African Union.”

On June 14 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told lawmakers that his government “wants peace with everyone” and revealed for the first time that “a study committee” has been formed under the leadership of Demeke Mekonnen.

But questions abound. Although the the ruling party said peace talks were to be held under the “facilitation of the African Union,” in a letter addressed to President Macky Sall, Chairperson of the African Union and President of Senegal on 14 June, Debretsion Gebrechichael (PhD), President of Tigray state, expressed reservations in the AU led process. “The silence of the African Union over the war and the atrocities perpetrated by the forces ranged against us was a betrayal of the Foundational Principles of the Union. We have consistently condemned the failure of the African Union Chairperson and his High Representative to take a position consistent with their solemn obligations under the Constitutive Act of the Union, the Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council, and a host of other commitments entered into. In the considered view of the People and Government of Tigray the leadership of the African Union Commission has yet to redeem its failures and restore our trust,” the letter said.

Tigray has not yest issued official response since the announcement of the seven member team by the ruling party in Addis Abeba. AS

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