News: Tigray announces talks on Pretoria accord implementation will be conducted ‘exclusively through AU panel’

Getachew Reda, President of Tigray Interim Administration (Photo: Tigray TV)

Addis Abeba – The Tigray Interim Administration has announced its decision to engage with the federal government regarding the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed in November 2022, exclusively through the African Union.

Emphasizing continuous collaborative endeavors with the federal government aimed at addressing issues and cultivating trust to a certain degree, the Interim Administration stated that “forthcoming discussions will be exclusively conducted through the African Union Panel,” thus distancing itself from direct bilateral engagements with the federal government.

This announcement comes subsequent to the conclusion of the Interim Administration’s Cabinet meeting, held on 28 February, 2024, with the objective of initiating a comprehensive dialogue on the implementation of the Pretoria Peace Agreement.

In the statement released today, the Cabinet highlighted the urgency of the situation.

It affirmed its dedication to actively pursue the establishment of a secure peace, employing peaceful conflict resolution strategies as alternatives. The interim administration stressed the paramount importance of resolving territorial boundaries in accordance with the Pretoria agreement and the Federal Constitution.

Importantly, the Interim Administration clarified that “no bilateral implementation agreement has been reached with the federal government” regarding this matter.

Affirming that the enduring peace in the region is contingent upon upholding the territorial integrity of Tigray in accordance with the nation’s constitution, the withdrawal of Amhara and Eritrean forces from Tigray, and the repatriation of displaced residents to their homes, the Interim Administration urged both the federal government and the African Union to diligently fulfill their respective responsibilities.

Two days ago, the interim administration announced that discussions with delegates from the African Union (AU), designated mediators, and the federal government will take place in the coming weeks with the aim of addressing the persistent challenges related to the full implementation of the Pretoria deal.

Redae Halefom, the head of the Communications Bureau at the Tigray Interim Administration, stated that the forthcoming discussions aim to tackle fundamental issues that consistently impede the complete realization of the Pretoria Peace Agreement.

Redae articulated that the lack of effective implementation has resulted in adverse circumstances for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and inhabitants residing in areas under the control of Eritrean and Amhara forces.

The latest development came amidst growing tensions between the Tigray interim administration and the federal government.

Recently, there has been a series of accusations and counter accusations between the two concerning the full implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA), in particular the unresolved status of Western Tigray, and the response to the ongoing severe drought that is claiming the lives of hundreds in the Tigray region.

On 09 February, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his cabinet members met with a delegation led by Getachew Reda, President of the Interim Administration of Tigray, and senior officials of the TPLF to assess the advancement in the implementation of the Pretoria Peace Agreement signed between the federal government and TPLF in November 2022.

In a subsequent media briefing, Getachew Reda, president of the Tigray Interim Administration conveyed that the current alteration in the demographic makeup of western Tigray, combined with the persistent displacement of its inhabitants, precludes the feasibility of conducting a referendum, drawing a strak difference from the position held by the federal government as a solution to the unresolved status of Western, and Southern Tigray. AS

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