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#NewsAlert: Ethiopian Parliament de-lists TPLF from terrorist designation

On 18 February 2023, the TPLF celebrated the 48th anniversary of its foundation with various events held in Mekelle and other parts of the Tigray regional state. Photo: TPLF

Addis Abeba – Members of the Ethiopian House of Peoples Representatives (HoPR) during its 6th round, 2nd year, 1st special meeting held today de-listed the terrorist designation. According to the Parliament, the decision was approved by “a majority vote, 61 against, and five abstentions.”

On May 05 2021 that members of the HoPR designated the TPLF, along with and “Shene” (a term the government uses to refer to the armed group Oromo Liberation Army – OLA), as terrorist groups citing Articles 18 and 19 of Proclamation No. 1176/2020 on the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism Crimes. The Parliament’s decision followed an earlier decision on May 01 by the Council of Ministers that approved the resolution to designate the groups as terrorist organizations.

Subsequently, the Federal Prosecutors charged 62 former and current TPLF officials with terrorism related offenses under the case file of Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), Chairman of the party. The accused include Getachew Reda, who on 17 Marc, has been picked by the TPLF to lead Tigray’s incoming Interim Regional Administration (IRA).

The designation has compounded possibilities of pace talks to bring an early end to the two years war in Ethiopia that broke out in the Tigray region and spread to Amhara and Afar regions.

The international community has long been asking the Ethiopian government to lift the designations in order to pave the way for peaceful resolution to war. During the UNSC open briefing on Tigray held on August 26 2021, SC member states commonly known as A-3+1 said Ethiopia’s parliament “should prepare to lift” terrorist designation of “armed actors” to allow for direct contact and negotiation with armed actors opposing the government.

However, the de-listing stood no chance with Ethiopia’s firm stand against calls from the international community. A year ago in February the government said it was not going to accept the call for the de-listing. “…the Ethiopian government does not have any agenda to negotiate with a designated terrorist group, including TPLF,” Ambassador Dina Mufti, then Spokesperson the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) told local media.

But the de-listing became one of the key points included in the AU brokered agreement for Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed between the federal government and representatives of the TPLF on November 02 last year. The agreement stipulates that as part of the implementation of the CoHA the federal government should “facilitate the lifting of the terrorist designation of the TPLF by the House of People’s Representatives.”

Today’s decision to lift the designation came just days after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken paid an official visit to Ethiopia to push for the full implementation of the agreement.

It is expected to pave ways for the discontinuation of the terrorism charges pending against current and former TPLF officials, including Getachew Reda. AS

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