Addis Standard staff
Addis Abeba, August 28/2021 – Speaking at the UNSC open briefing on Tigray held on August 26, SC member states commonly known as A-3+1 said Ethiopia’s incoming parliament “should prepare to lift” terrorist designation of “armed actors” to allow for direct contact and negotiation with armed actors opposing the government.
The member states: Kenya, Niger, Tunisia & St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, presented their statement through Ambassador Martin Kimani, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the UN.
On May 05, the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) designated the T.P.L.F and Shene (a term the government uses to refer to the armed group Oromo Liberation Army – OLA) as terrorist groups in accordance with Articles 18 and 19 of Proclamation No. 1176/2020 on the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism Crimes. The Parliament’s decision followed a decision on May 01 by the Council of Ministers which approved the resolution to designate the groups as terrorist organizations.
“Peace cannot be made with a political movement that has been labeled as a terrorist group. Parliament should prepare to lift this designation to allow for direct contact and negotiation with armed actors opposing the government,” Ambassador Kimani said.
On August 11, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) announced that it has forged a military alliance with forces loyal to Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). In an interview with The Associated Press, the commander of the OLA, Kumsa Diriba, also known as Jaal Marroo, said the agreement was reached a few weeks ago after the Tigray forces proposed it., which was confirmed by the later in follow up statement. However, the details of the agreement has not been made public as of yet.
The news was rejected by the Ethiopian government as ” unusual marriage.” Speaking to the media on August 12, Billene Seyoum, press secretary at the office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said: “the government has been saying it for a while now but international media seems to only believe it rather when terrorist organizations tell them. So now they have told the entire world. Important to point out in this regard is no [terrorist] entity can claim to be for the people of Oromia while it kills the people of the region for its political gains and no [terrorist] entity can claim to be for the people of Tigray while it kills its own people and holds them hostage for its political gains.”
“The violence presently afflicting the people and country of Ethiopia is the product of conflicting views of the country’s future. “UNSC A-3+1 member states
Call for negotiations
Like the rest of the SC member states, the A-3+1 also recommended the armed conflict in Ethiopia to be resolved through negotiations.
“The violence presently afflicting the people and country of Ethiopia is the product of conflicting views of the country’s future. It has erupted and worsened because the country s conflict prevention and resolution tools have, until now, been inadequate to the task,” Ambassador Kimani said, “the resolution to this crisis requires that we undertake a mediation of the deep divides as part of an Ethiopian-owned process supported by the available Peace and Security Architecture and practices especially those of the African Union.”
As part of this efforts, the A-3+1 called for armed actors in Tigray to withdraw “from neighboring regions, and a halt to the rallying of other armed actors. The further they advance outside Tigray, the greater the danger to the people on whose behalf they claim to be acting. Escalating political tensions in other parts of the country will not solve the crisis, it will only widen the divide.”
They have also cautioned that the “TPLF must leave no doubts lingering that they will ever play any part in compromising the political independence and territorial integrity of Ethiopia which all members of the African Union are obliged to defend.”
They called on the Ethiopian government, to “announce a willingness to stop hostilities and to engage in ceasefire, and tangibly demonstrate an embrace of the people of Tigray by resuming the provision of basic services to them.” AS
Download the full speech here.