Officials of the Tigray Interim Administration blame the African Union high level panel of the peace process in Ethiopia for abandoning the implementation of the Pretoria peace agreement. With the exception of success in achieving a ceasefire, none of the other elements of the agreement have been achieved, according to officials.
This represents a major setback and comes as Tigrayan officials increasingly voice concerns about implementing the peace deal signed in Pretoria in November 2022.
“Since the Pretoria agreement and the meeting of high military commanders in Nairobi, the AU high level panel has been nowhere. They have not been active since then,” Amanuel Aseffa, chief cabinet secretary of the Tigray Interim Administration (TIA), told The Reporter.
Key provisions of the Pretoria agreement, including the resumption of political dialogue between Tigray and the federal government, restoring Tigray’s borders to their pre-conflict boundaries, withdrawing non-ENDF forces, transitional justice measures, and providing humanitarian aid, have yet to be fulfilled, regional officials stated.
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In addition, following a meeting of its central committee, the TPLF called on the federal government to promptly commence discussions. Per Amanuel, the TIA has also conveyed its request to the AU to implement the unrealized terms of the Pretoria deal.
While achieving a ceasefire was significant, Amanuel said Tigrayan civilians continue to suffer daily under Eritrean and Amhara forces in northern, western, southern and south-western Tigray. Several Tigrayans remain refugees in Sudan and nearly one million are displaced internally.
The Pretoria agreement’s second most important provision, after cessation of hostilities, was resolving the root causes through political discussion, according to Amanuel.
“Regrettably, the AU panel abandoned the deal without full implementation. Many terms remain unfulfilled as dialogue with the federal government did not commence,” he said.
Tigray officials view it as the AU panel’s duty to facilitate political negotiations and oversee the process. They also demand representation for Tigray in federal bodies, noting that without presence in the House of Federation, House of Representatives, military or other agencies, Tigray has not achieved its full autonomy as a region.
Amanuel warned leaving the underlying conflict unaddressed risks reigniting violence across Ethiopia or even the Horn of Africa. To date, neither the federal authorities nor AU have addressed letters from Tigray querying why key Pretoria agreement items on demilitarization, prisoners and more remain unfinished, according to Amanuel.
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