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Friday, October 07, 2022

Ethiopian government and TPLF quarrel over peace mediation

Ethiopian government and TPLF quarrel over peace mediation

Ethiopia’s ruling party said this week that it wants the African Union, in partnership with the United States, to mediate any peace talks to end the war with Tigrayan forces. But the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, has said it does not trust the AU and wants Kenya to mediate.

Some are concerned that the conflicting desires of the two sides so early in negotiations may not bode well for future talks.

“The position of Tigray’s government appears to be based on a concern from the outset of the conflict that the African Union commission chairman has expressed some support for the Ethiopian federal military campaign in Tigray,” said analyst William Davison of the International Crisis Group, a Belgium-based research organization. “I do not think the Ethiopian government feels that the African Union has much coercive power at its disposal and therefore it is a mediator who can handle it better.”

The AU headquarters are located in Addis Ababa.

Solomon Guadie, a law lecturer at Jigjiga University in Ethiopia, said he suspected Kenya would not be a neutral party in negotiations.

“Kenya has certain border and environmental issues with regard to Ethiopia,” Guadie said. “Maybe it could be involved in any impartiality and factors that could affect neutrality, so I think the African Union is a better place than Kenya.”

But Davison said these kinds of disagreements are normal and can be overcome.

“There is no specific reason why the Kenyan government cannot work with the African Union and its envoy as a kind of compromise solution, and that is certainly what is needed, given what is at stake here,” Davison said. “It is extremely important that this type of procedural dispute does not distract the parties.”

What complicates the negotiations is the fact that some analysts and politicians have said that peace negotiations should involve actors in the conflict, apart from the TPLF and the government – especially the Ethiopian regional governments of Amhara and Afar and the national government of Eritrea.

Eritrean troops joined the Ethiopian government to fight the TPLF in northern Ethiopia, ending a decade-long battle between the two nations.

The war between Tigrayan forces and Ethiopia’s federal government has been raging since November 2020.

An estimated 5.1 million people were displaced by the conflict in 2021. The University of Ghent in Belgium says up to half a million people have died as a result of the conflict, either in fighting or as a result of the humanitarian crisis it has caused.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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