Addis Ababa, August 19, 2022 (Walta) – In a press briefing, the Press Secretariat of the Office of the Prime Minister, Billene Seyoum said the Government of Ethiopia affirms it is ready at any time and at any place suggested to engage in peace talks under the auspices of the AU led process.
The Peace Committee unveiled a peace proposal that it has deliberated upon and adopted. The peace proposal is three-pronged: Firstly, it proposes for peace talks to happen within the coming weeks towards an agreed ceasefire. Secondly, it proposes to undertake an in-depth political dialogue between leading towards a lasting settlement, and thirdly, it proposes for other pending issues to be addressed through a national dialogue.
“The proposal by the peace committee of the Federal Government is another demonstration of the Government’s continued commitment to peace and for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. It puts into perspective that the people of Tigray and affected communities in the Afar and Amhara region as a result of the devastations need respite. It establishes that talks must be without pre-conditions because Ethiopians in the Tigray region need not continue being prisoners of TPLF’s own political interests.”
The proposal is cognizant of TPLF’s continued forced conscription of youth in the Tigray region, and TPLF’s accumulation of weaponry through channels masquerading as humanitarian assistance and through other means, she underscored.
The proposal takes into consideration the illegal flow of foreign and local currency being funneled into TPLF’s coffers to finance another altercation, she added.
It is also cognizant of the siphoning of humanitarian assistance and fuel reserves towards combatants instead of intended beneficiaries and the actors that are aiding and abetting the TPLF’s affront to peace.
“In spite of all this, the posture of the Government remains that of peaceful engagement; this agenda for peace has been at the forefront by the Government before the war broke out; the call for peace was being made by the Government during the war, and the calls for a peaceful resolution continue to be made to this moment despite there being not a shred of interest for peace by TPLF.”
“Despite this, there are still those for whom the image of TPLF as an underdog is compelling and who continue to propagate this misleading narrative. The issue of restoration of services comes up again and again as if there is an on and off switch centrally located.”
This is an erroneous and dangerous view of how to service that is disrupted due to conflict and related damage is administered. The Government has made it clear on several occasions that the security and administrative arrangements need to be cleared and put in place to facilitate technical repair work on the ground in the Tigray region to restore said services.
Hence an operable and enabling environment is essential for such technical work to be undertaken on the ground. And at the moment with a vocally belligerent and illegally armed group operating at its own whim and refusing to accept peace talks the required enabling and secure environment is lacking.
“If TPLF genuinely cares for the wellbeing of Ethiopians in the Tigray Region, then they should be publicly asked by various international community actors to accept the peace agenda and sit for talks instead of looking for excuses to avoid peace,” She underlined.
“The issue of restoration of services comes up again and again as if there is an on and off switch centrally located. This is an erroneous and dangerous view of how to service that is disrupted due to conflict and related damage is administered.”
Regarding the ongoing humanitarian operations, Billene said from July 20th to August 9th, 2022 29,942MT of food and 31,940M To of non-food items have been delivered to Tigray.
She added that 300 Million Birr, 66,8567 liters of fuel, 2,363 MT of medicine, and 2,096MT of fertilizer have reached Mekelle.
Also, from July 20th to August 9th, 2022 7,543MT of food has been dispatched to Amhara Region beneficiaries. 2,761 MT of food has been distributed to Afar Region beneficiaries, Billene indicated.
Regarding measures to ensure peace, Billene underscored that multifaceted efforts are being made by the security sector to address outstanding issues as a key priority, she underlined.
She recalled the National Security Council’s statement issued last week evaluating its operational activities nationwide.
“As it pertains to terrorist activities in the Oromia region, through the concerted efforts of three command posts and joint deployments of Federal and Regional security forces, key progress is reported to have been made on apprehending members of terrorist cells.”
In the Amhara region, rule of law measures taken against irregular forces has yielded results, Billene said.
“Similarly, the evaluation of the National Security Council of its peace and security efforts in Benishangul region, SNNP region, Somali and Afar regions as well as Addis Ababa city indicates progress in apprehending criminals, curbing criminal activities, and cleaning the structures of the security sector.”
The National Security Council has set forth a direction to continue its operations in a bid to diminish the capabilities of the terrorists and irregular forces to a level where they are not a threat.
The direction set forth is also aimed to conduct activities that ensure a lasting peace by mediating across various groups and involving youth in peace activities, strengthening the judicial bodies and enabling them to perform what is required for national peace and security, to take decisive action against economic exploitation, corruption, smuggling, illegal money transfer and other forms of economic sabotage and refine the leadership at every level and establish accountability; creating qualified, active and ready leadership at every level, she elaborated.