The Brief 12.02.2023

12 Feb 2023

The Implementation of the Agreement for Lasting Peace through a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities (CoHA) 

Following the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in Pretoria, South Africa and the Implementation Declaration in Nairobi, Kenya, between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), momentum toward improving the relationship with the Tigray Region is picking up.

As a reflection of the government’s commitment to implementing the Pretoria Peace Deal, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with the FDRE’s Main Peace Committee and TPLF’s negotiating team on February 03, 2023. The meeting focussed on reviewing the progress of the peace process. Accordingly, a decision has been made on the restoration of essential services, particularly on increasing flights, banking services and other sectors that would boost trust between the two parties and ease lives of civilians.

Indeed, the Government of Ethiopia has been consistent in delivering on its commitment to fully implement the peace agreement. This has been underscored in a statement issued by the Prime Minister in which he underlined that the agreement signed in South Africa is moving forward on the paths of reforms the nation embarked four and half years ago, and that the government’s commitment to peace remains steadfast and its commitment to collaborating for the implementation of the agreement is equally strong.

The Agreement provides for the establishment of the African Union Monitoring, Verification, and Compliance Mechanism (MVCM). Such a mechanism has been established and started its proper function. The objectives of the MVCM are to assist the implementation of the agreement expeditiously, to lay a foundation for political dialogue, and to assist in monitoring the conduct of the parties with respect to their obligation. The MVCM is composed of a Joint Committee and a Team of African Experts (TAE). The joint committee is composed of representatives of the Ethiopian Government, TPLF, IGAD, and the African Union-High Level Panel.

In line with the provisions made under these instruments, the team has so far witnessed the handing over of TPLF’s heavy weapons to the federal government in the presence of observers from different countries. The heavy weapons from TPLF include armoured tanks, artilleries, rockets, and mortars. The handing over of the light weapons shall continue in accordance with the Agreement and Implementation Declaration. Currently, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) confirmed that there are no non-ENDF forces in the Tigray region.

Once the disarmament process is advanced, the Government will consult with all parties active in the region toward forming an interim administration. The interim administration will be in place until elections are held. It should be recalled that the National Elections Board of Ethiopia did not conduct the last elections that the TPLF organised. Concurrently, elections for the Regional Council and the House of Peoples’ Representatives will be held under the supervision of the Ethiopian National Election Board.

Delivery of Humanitarian Assistance and Restoration of Services 

The Government of Ethiopia along with humanitarian partners is also delivering on its commitment to delivering humanitarian assistance and restoring essential services across Tigray region.

Following the recent meeting of the Prime Minister with the Main Peace Committee and TPLF’s delegation, the National bank has begun sending 5 billion Birr to Mekelle. As the peace agreement further continues to pay off, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has started providing full banking services in all branches in Mekelle city as well as in 47 branches in Shire, Axum, Adwa, Seleklika, Maytsebri, Endabaguna, Wukromaray, Adigrat, Wukro, frewoyni, Hawzen, Adigudom, Hewane, Adishehu, Mejoni, and Maychew, Abiy Adi, Mai Lamin, Samre, Gijet, Haiqi Meshal, Work Amba, Atsbi and Agula to mention few. The bank had already distributed the money sent from the National Bank of Ethiopia to its branches across Tigray region.  In addition, Ethiopian Airlines has increased its flights to Mekelle from 3 to 5.

Currently, 80 cities and towns in the northern part of the country had regained electricity. Maintenance works are also well underway to reconnect the remaining 27 towns in Northern Ethiopia.  The government has resumed telecom services in 27 towns of the Tigray region and managed to carryout maintenance of more than 1,800 km of fibre optics line.

The government has also continued to expedite the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the region via four corridors through Afar and Amhara regions. More than 105,000 metric tons of food and more than 14,000 metric tons of non-food supplies have been dispatched to the region by the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners. Operational fuel and cash are also being delivered to the region, supporting the work of humanitarian organisations. The Government of Ethiopia conducted a relief food distribution for nearly 800,000 people across 15 cities and woredas in the Tigray region. Routine vaccination is ongoing in health facilities in Mekelle and some accessible woredas, while the Government and health partners are distributing medical supplies and bed nets to various health facilities. Over the week, the Ministry of Health in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled a new project worth $8 million for the reconstruction of damaged health facilities in conflict-affected areas. The project is particularly designed to address maternity and childcare in 12 hospitals, 24 clinics, 48 health centers and 6 mobile medical team in conflict-affected areas.

The Government is working round-the-clock to address the enormous drought and conflict-related humanitarian crisis in different parts of the country given that around 22 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The amount of damage caused by the conflict roughly stands at 22 billion USD. As national resources are not enough to address these challenges, international support is required for rehabilitation and reconstruction works in the conflict-affected areas of northern Ethiopia.

National Transitional Justice Policy

It is to be recalled that the “Agreement for Lasting Peace Through a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities” signed in Pretoria by the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front to end the two-year war in the country’s north calls for an inclusive and comprehensive national transitional justice policy centred on accountability, truth seeking, redress for victims, and reconciliation and healing.

The Government remains firmly committed to addressing allegations of human rights and humanitarian law violations during the conflict within the framework of the peace agreement. The Government of Ethiopia has published a green paper on the National Transitional Justice Policy as part of implementing the Pretoria Peace Agreement aimed at ensuring accountability, truth-telling, redress for victims, healing, and reconciliation, consistent with the Constitution of FDRE and the African Union Transitional Justice Policy Framework.

The green paper on transitional justice policy will be enriched with inputs from all stakeholders and civil society groups. The draft document, in line with the Government of Ethiopia’s formal national policy-making processes, has been opened for extensive and inclusive public consultations. The National Dialogue Commission is another institution working in this area and across the country to address all the political and structural concerns raised by the people.

Ethio-Sudan Relations

Ethiopia and Sudan are moving forward with normalization of relations. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed paid a one-day visit to Khartoum, Sudan, at the end of last month. The aim of the visit, as stipulated in a joint communiqué, was to show solidarity and stand with the Government and people of Sudan and their support to reach a Sudanese-Sudanese consensus that leads to the stability of the transitional period, given that the Sudanese are the most capable of solving their internal problems, and the Ethiopian side expressed its aspiration to reach an agreement to form a civilian government and other transitional institutions, leading to a democratic transition and access to elections.

Ethiopia and Sudan expressed their commitment to continuous consultation and reflection in everything related to the bilateral aspects between them, and joint coordination on regional and international issues. The two sides emphasized addressing bilateral issues through dialogue and understanding, including the issues of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and borders, in accordance with existing mechanisms, in the interest of the peoples of the two brotherly countries and other relevant parties, leading to comprehensive integration between the two neighbouring countries.

A Renewed Resolve for a United Fight against Al-Shabaab

The leaders of Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya met in Mogadishu, Somalia on February 01, 2023, to attend the Somalia Frontline States Summit. The summit was convened in the wake of the ongoing targeted and sustained campaign by the Somali security forces and forces from Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) aimed at degrading the capability of Al-Shabaab and diminishing the group’s operational capability in Somalia.

The summit reviewed the conclusions of the meeting of ministers of defence and chiefs of the defence forces of countries in the region on the importance of coordinated and timely technical, logistical, intelligence and operational support to the ongoing anti-terror operations along with the Somali national army.

In a joint communique issued after the summit, the regional leaders agreed to make the final push for joint operations in the areas that remain under the terrorists to completely liberate the whole of Somalia from Al-Shabaab to facilitate the drawdown of African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops and the gradual handover of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces.

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