A Week in the Horn 09.04.2021

News in Brief

#GERD Negotiations and Ungrateful Downstream Countries

On the Trilateral Negotiations on the #GERD (Press Release)

On #G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on the situation in #Tigray (Press Release)

On #Media, alleged human rights violations and other crimes committed in #Tigray (Press Release)

Africa and the African Union

Wednesday, 7th April 2021 marked the 27th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, an important occasion to remember the lives lost, show solidarity with survivors and unite to ensure such tragedy never happens again in Rwanda or elsewhere in Africa and beyond. The commemoration of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda provides an opportunity to learn about Rwanda’s story of reconciliation and nation building among others. Against this backdrop, the African Union Commission (AUC), through its Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security in close collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, organized a commemorative event at the AU Headquarters under the theme “Remember-Unite-Renew”, to mark this historical moment.

The African Union announced on Tuesday (April 6) that a new report by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and UNDP presents the key results from the evolving partnership between the two organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 3 million people infected and almost 100,000 lives lost across the continent, the report places a spotlight on societal resilience across sectors, the sheer determination by Africans to minimize the health impact, as well as the social disruption and economic consequences of the pandemic. While recent evidence on an emergent ‘third wave’ across parts of the continent remains concerning, this report reinforces the importance of whole-of-society partnerships in curbing and recovering from the pandemic.

Ethiopia

President Sahle-Work Zewde held talks with Special Envoy of the European Union and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland Pekka Haavisto on Wednesday (April 7). During the occasion, the Special Envoy stated that he has come to Ethiopia to hold discussions with various government officials on the status of the humanitarian relief and rebuilding efforts in Tigray as well as the GERD. President Sahle-Work on her part highlighted that the Ethiopian government has allowed foreign governments and the media to assess the situation in Tigray. She also indicated that the government was providing 70 percent of the humanitarian aid in Tigray and that alleged human rights violations are currently under investigation.

President Sahle-Work Zewde took part at the Leaders’ Dialogue on the Africa COVID-Climate Emergency on Tuesday (April 6). The dialogue which was convened to discuss the dual challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change was attended by over 30 Heads of State, Heads of multilateral organizations and Ministers. The President, who spoke on the topic of partnerships, highlighted multiple initiatives being undertaken by the Ethiopian government to build a climate resilient society. She emphasized the importance of mounting a globally coordinated response against these major challenges affecting all nations of the world.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said cloud-seeding technology will support Ethiopia’s efforts to develop hydropower generation and irrigation in the country. The Premier disclosed this on Saturday (April 3) at the Ethio-Cloud Seedling demonstration event organized in Addis Ababa, Entoto Observatory and Research Center in the presence of government officials. “The successful completion of the cloud-seeding demonstration implies that our country’s efforts in hydropower generation and irrigation will be supported by more rain,” Abiy stated in his face-book page.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen spoke by phone with National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan on Wednesday (April 7). During the talks, Demeke explained that the situation in Tigray is improving though demanding serious intervention. He also discussed GERD and noted the AU-led negotiation is instrumental through assuming observers to serve issues fairly and impartially. The Deputy Prime Minister assured Sullivan that the border issue with Sudan will only be resolved peacefully, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, on Sunday (April 4) inaugurated the 1st IGAD Universities Forum at Jigjiga University in Ethiopia. Also in attendance were the President of the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia, H.E. Mustafe Muhemed Omer, and the State Minister for Science and Higher Education of Ethiopia, Professor Afework Kassu. At the opening of the Forum, the Executive Secretary also took the opportunity to officially launch the IGAD Scholarship and Award Programme. A number of universities that include the University of Khartoum; the International University of Africa based in Khartoum, Kampala International University, and Gigjiga University respectively signed Memorandum of Understanding with IGAD.  The International University of Africa pledged 200 scholarships to benefit the most vulnerable students in the region.

Egypt and the Sudan have reaffirmed to the rest of the world that they are continuing to politicize and securitize the GERD which is basically technical. In this move, it is found out that Ethiopia is negotiating with one party that is Egypt and the Sudan put together. There is no difference between the two countries in politicization and securitization of the GERD and both are bent on denying not only the sovereign rights of Ethiopians of today but also of the next generation that Ethiopia will have to have the benevolence of Egypt and the Sudan to develop its water resources. (See article)

Ethiopia cannot enter into an agreement that would foreclose its current and future legitimate rights over the utilization of the Nile. This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and the Ministry of Water, Irregation and Energy following the meeting of Foreign and Water Affairs Ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan held in Congo, Kinshasa to resume the trilateral negotiation on GERD under the auspices of the AU. The Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the chairperson of the Executive Council of the AU chaired the Ministerial meeting that was held on 04-05 April 2021. (See article)

Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister, Sileshi Bekele on Wednesday (April 7) said Ethiopia strongly believes the ongoing negotiation led by the African Union has brought major progress on the Grand Renaissance Dam dispute, despite some setbacks in the mediation. He said Egypt and Sudan followed an approach that seeks to undermine the AU-led process and to take the matter out of the African platform. He underscored that changing the already agreed African Union-facilitation format is not constructive as the union is capable enough to bring a comprehensive solution and move it quite a long way.

South Sudanese Ambassador to Ethiopia, James Pita Morgan called up on the Ethiopian government to preserve internal unity and work for regional integrity on Sunday (April 4). Ambassador Morgan underlined that Ethiopia has been aggressively working for social and economic regional integration in the horn of Africa adding that region’s future lies on endeavors of the country in several aspects. The region is encountering many complicated circumstances and high demand of development, the ambassador noted, underlining Ethiopia’s role in maintaining cooperation among nations in the areas. “As a leading power in IGAD for 10 years, Ethiopia has to take the lion’s share in bringing together regional countries for mutual benefit besides cementing its internal unity” Ambassador Pita Morgan stressed.

The recent released video which shows atrocities on innocent civilians in Tigray is a complete fabrication and drama orchestrated by agents of the TPLF junta, according to the Ethiopian National Defense Force. Briefing the media on Wednesday (April 7), National Defense Force Indoctrination Director-General Major General Mohammed Tesema said the video was released by agents of the junta with the intension of confusing the general public. According to him, the extremist TPLF group was destroyed once and for all by the law enforcement operation. However, some of the remnants of the junta are now acting as bandits by hiding in forests and robbing as well as killing innocent people in some parts of the region, he revealed.

Planning and Development Commission (PDC) and World Resources Institute (WRI) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on various tasks related to capacity building in the areas of economic development and climate change. The MoU was signed on Monday (April 5) by Dr Fitsum Assefa, Commissioner of Planning and Developing Commission and Aklilu Fikresilassie, Representative of WRI in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia repudiated the statement issued by the G7’s Foreign Ministers on Friday (April 2), concerning the situation in Tigray Regional State.In a press release issued, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the statement failed to capture the important steps taken by the Government of Ethiopia to fully address the pressing needs in Tigray.The statement added that the Government of Ethiopia has continued intensifying its efforts to address the situation in the Tigray region and has made enormous progress since the law enforcement measures have come to a successful conclusion. (See article)

The international media have been busy reporting crimes of all sorts of nature in the Tigray region since the beginning of the law enforcement operation that followed the unwarranted and surprise attack by the TPLF clique on the members of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force on 4 November 2020. The government of Ethiopia not only sympathizes with the affected people and appreciates the rightful attention given to the protection of the rights of civilians in the Tigray region, but also leaves no stone unturned until the truth is revealed and perpetrators are brought to justice. Be that as it may, the government of Ethiopia believes that it has to set the records straight on slanted reports that continued to portray the federal government as an instigator of all crimes, while the belligerent TPLF appears to be the underdog that happens to be at the receiving ends of the alleged atrocities and human rights violations in the region. (See article)

Ethiopian Ambassador to South Sudan, Nabil Mahdi paid a visit on Tuesday (April 6) to one of the Ethiopian peacekeeping battalion (ETHBATT-3) in Juba that serves under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). On the occasion, Colonel Girma Leta, Commander of the Battalion, gave a briefing on the peacekeeping duties and responsibilities of the battalion, as well as the army’s humanitarian support to the people of South Sudan. In delivering remarks, Ambassador Nabil reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to support and cooperate with South Sudan since the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie and underscored his country’s pledge to further develop this unwavering conviction.

The Government of South Korea has offered medical equipment to Ethiopia through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), so disclosed the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. According to the statement, totally 31 medical equipment and devices including ventilators, PCR detection machines, PCR kits, ICU beds, masks and gloves were provided.

Djibouti

Djibouti is going to the polls on Friday (April 9) as President Ismail Omar Guelleh seeks a fifth term. Guelleh has been in power since 1999 after the death of his predecessor, Hassan Guled Aptidon, the country´s first president. Djibouti won independence from France in 1977. More than 205,000 people are registered to vote in Djibouti, which has a population of over 600,000.

IGAD will be deploying a short-term election observation mission to the Presidential Elections in Djibouti that will be held on 9 April 2021, the regional bloc announced on Wednesday (April 08).  The mission that be led by Hon. Siraj Fegessa who is Former Minister of Defence of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Director of IGAD Peace and Security Division, comprises a 16-person team. The mission will be deployed in Ali Sabeh, Arta and Tajourah districts and Djibouti City. An advance team arrived in the capital on 2 April ahead of an official launch of the mission on 8 April.

Somalia

Ahead of the upcoming elections in Somalia, the Somali Police Force (SPF) and the police component of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are going to beef up security in Mogadishu through joint patrols to help deter cases of violence and insecurity. The proposed security plan was discussed on Tuesday (April 6) in Mogadishu when the two sides met at the Banadir Regional Police headquarters, led by the SPF Commander for Banadir Region General Sadiq Omar Hassan and AMISOM Police Commissioner, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP), Augustine Magnus Kailie.

The Somali National Army, SNA, said its forces took over several bases which were under al-Shabab areas during early Wednesday (April 7) operations in Galgaduud, in the central part of Somalia. Mohamed Tahlil Bihi, SNA Infantry commander, said the 21st Division of SNA captured new bases in areas, which used to be al-Shabab strongholds, and inflicted heavy casualties on the militants. The latest move comes after the SNA liberated Sinadhaqqo and Labi Dulle areas during operations conducted last week in Galgaduud in which dozens of terrorists were killed and weapons recovered.

Somalia’s federal government said Wednesday that efforts to resolve the stalemate on elections collapsed after leaders from the states of Puntland and Jubbaland failed to agree on the way forward. But leaders from both states rejected that claim from the information minister, Osman Dubbe. The U.N. office in Somalia, the U.S. and European Union have all appealed to Somali leaders to resolve their differences in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan.

The UN envoy in Somalia, James Swan, condemned the recent attacks against National Army bases in Barire and Awdhigle. ‘We strongly condemn those attacks directed against Somali forces. This is a vivid reminder of the sacrifices soldiers make every day as they fight valiantly to keep Somalia and its people safe,’ the special representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations said in a statement. The Al-Shabab group assumed responsibility for the attacks, which were launched simultaneously on Saturday (April 3) against military units in Barire and Awdhigle and in which, however, it suffered a large number of casualties, more than 115 as reported on Sunday by Defense minister Hassan Haji.

South Sudan

The outgoing head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer has urged on Tuesday (April 6), the country’s leaders to fully implement the revitalized peace agreement and hold elections so that communities can enjoy peace and prosperity. Shearer has been the UN’s top envoy in South Sudan for four years. “I urge the people and leaders of South Sudan to remain united and energized to push the peace process forward to fully implement the revitalized agreement and hold elections so communities across the country can finally enjoy true peace and prosperity,” he said. Shearer said he was proud of the progress so far been made, including the ceasefire, peace deal, formation of a transitional Government and installation of local leaders in the states.

The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan convened on Monday (April 5) a virtual follow-up meeting on the Solutions Initiative for the Displacement Situation in Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. The meeting was attended by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the US Ambassador to Djibouti and the European Union Head of Regional and Multi-Country Programmes. The initiative, launched in October 2020 on the margins of the UNHCR Executive Committee meeting, aims to harness peace dividends stemming from the implementation of the peace agreements reached for Sudan and South Sudan to find lasting solutions for 7 million displaced persons in and from the two countries.

South Sudan’s COVID-19 vaccination drive kicked off on Tuesday (April 6), with health workers getting their first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine at Juba Teaching Hospital. The first person to be vaccinated against COVID-19 was Health minister, Elizabeth Achuei.

Sudan

The President of Transitional Sovereignty Council, Gen. Abdul-Fattah Al-Burhan left on Wednesday (April 07) to the State of Qatar on a two-day visit following invitations from Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani. The President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council is accompanied by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Gibreill Ibrahim, Foreign Minister, Dr Mariam Al Sadiq and Minister of Defense, Yassin Ibrahim Yassin. Al –Burhan was seen off at Khartoum airport by the TSC Member, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Jaber, the Charge d’Affaires of Qatari Embassy in Khartoum, Ambassador Telal Al Anzi, and several ministers and government officials.

Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to consolidate relations by facilitating the movement of trade, investment and economic cooperation between the two countries (April 6). The decision was reached at a meeting between Sudan’s Minister of Investment, Dr. Al-Hadi Mohamed Ibrahim and his South Sudanese counterpart, Dhieu Mathok in the capital, Khartoum on Wednesday. Ibrahim said the joint cooperation between the two countries is among the priorities of the government. For his part, Mathok called for maintaining close cooperation and coordination between the two ministries in the field of trade and investments. He urged re-opening of the border crossings between the two countries.

The death toll from tribal violence in West Darfur State has risen to 125, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said in a statement on Thursday (April 8). Fresh clashes between the Arab Rizeigat and Masalit communities erupted in the capital of West Darfur State on Saturday 3 April despite the deployment of troops in the region to prevent such violence. “The CCSD recorded further 38 deaths and 17 wounded, bringing the total death toll to 125 deaths and 208 wounded,” said the medical group. The new Inter-communal fighting displaced over 109,000 people and generated new needs. For its part, the government declared a state of emergency in the state and deployed more troops to prevent escalation of the violence.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited the head of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to visit Ankara, said a statement released in Khartoum. According to a press statement issued by the Sovereign Council on Friday, al-Burhan during a phone call with President Erdogan discussed bilateral relations and issues of common concern at the regional and international levels. “Al-Burhan received an invitation from Erdogan to visit Turkey,” further said the statement.

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GERD negotiations and Ungrateful Downstream Countries

The AU-led trilateral negotiation among Ethiopia, Egypt and the Sudan was held last week in Kinshasa on 3-5 April 2021. The negotiation was chaired for the first time by the DRC after it took over the chairmanship of the AU from South Africa. The AU Commission was also fully involved in the facilitation of the negotiations.

The president of the DRC, President Felix Tshisekedi did extensive one-to-one discussions with heads of delegation of Ethiopia, Egypt and the Sudan. This was a very commendable job that gave chance to each party to explain itself. Ethiopia on this occasion made it clear that the AU-led process can and must be able to narrow gaps among the three countries for which Ethiopia has affirmed its commitment and forwarded practical suggestions.

Ethiopia did underline its most preferred option that the negotiation remains with the AU framework rejecting the idea of changing the modality to a quartet mediation. Once again, Ethiopia believes that the matter at hand, the GERD, is an issue among Ethiopia, the Sudan and Egypt and lack of an agreement has nothing to do with who the mediator is, rather what are the compromises offered by the parties is what is halting progress. To put it bluntly, Egypt in particular has to compromise which never did any.

As has been observed in the negotiation in Kinshasa, Ethiopia has reiterated a mutual data exchange agreement among the parties followed by an agreement on the filling of the dam. The third element to agree on would be the operation of the GERD.

In all these sequential approaches to the negotiations, Ethiopia believes that they can be achieved because the issues are pretty much technical. What is political and is also agreeable is the role of the mediator, its experts and the observers. The process has to remain AU-led with its experts simply because the process has to be owned by the three parties. And yet, Ethiopia has suggested in the Kinshasa meeting that the role of observers can be enhanced so long as the three parties believe and agree to entrust the observers towards specific tasks.

In all these flexibilities showing the way forward from Ethiopia, there was none from Egypt and the Sudan. In fact, Egypt and the Sudan had announced the failure of this round of negotiation on the 4th of April 2021 while it was to end the next day. They have come to Kinshasa with a prior decision to just abort it before it ends.

Egypt and the Sudan have reaffirmed to the rest of the world that they are continuing to politicize and securitize the GERD which is basically technical. In this move, it is found out that Ethiopia is negotiating with one party that is Egypt and the Sudan put together. There is no difference between the two countries in politicization and securitization of the GERD and both are bent on denying not only the sovereign rights of Ethiopians of today but also of the next generation that Ethiopia will have to have the benevolence of Egypt and the Sudan to develop its water resources.

Ethiopia still and will continue to hope on the AU-led negotiation towards the resolution of the dispute on the GERD only on the basis of equitable utilization rejecting any claim of historical rights. The world might continue to see the leadership of Egypt and Sudan in war-mongering mode threatening Ethiopia that their all options are on the table. There is a saying in Arabic that ‘Al Hanjama nus al rajal’ meaning posturing is half bravery or a victory. But in Ethiopia, we have a different saying that you don’t die of fear rather you die while fighting. So Ethiopia also has all its options on the table.

There seems a failure of recognition from many external stakeholders that there is no experience in the world to compare with Ethiopia who invited its downstream riparians to negotiate on its own hydro-electric generating dam on a river it originates from its lands. The US didn’t do it on its Hoover dam in Colorado in relation to Mexico. Turkey didn’t do it on its Ataturk dam in relation to Syria and Iraq. China didn’t do it either on its Mekong River in relation to its five downstream riparians. So Egypt failed to recognize Ethiopia’s generosity and understandings to negotiate in good faith. Selfish motives always lead to being ungrateful and a failure.

Regarding the Sudan, the matter is different in that the concerns of the Sudan are all addressed as they are purely technical. Data exchange has been offered to the Sudan by the prime minister of Ethiopia himself. Dam safety is an issue that is well taken care of by Ethiopia for its own safety in the first place. The dam operates safe and then Ethiopia is safe. So does Sudan by extension. In these all, Ethiopia is going ahead with the second filling with a clear and clean concise.

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On the Trilateral Negotiations on the #GERD

Press Release

06 April 2021

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Foreign and Water Affairs Ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan had a meeting in Kinshasa to resume the trilateral negotiation on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) under the auspices of the African Union (AU). President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the current chairperson of the AU, H.E. Felix Tshisekedi opened the meeting. The Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the chairperson of the Executive Council of the AU, chaired the Ministerial meeting that was held on 04-05 April 2021. The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security of the AUC attended the Ministerial meeting.

The meeting convened to review the progress of the negotiation and to chart the way forward. H.E Demeke Mekonnen in his opening remarks reassured Ethiopia’s commitment towards the successful completion of the negotiation under the AU framework. He also underlined the rights of all the riparian countries to use the Nile River and the need for cooperation. He further stressed the importance of reversing the monopoly of the use of the waters of the Nile by the downstream countries. The Deputy Prime Minister also recalled the opportunity for cooperation created by the GERD and underscored the need to take the progress of the negotiation to their conclusion.

Agreeing on the continuation of the three observers in the process (the Republic of South Africa, the United States of America, and the European Union), discussions were held on the proposed enhancement of the role of observers. Accordingly, Ethiopia with its resolve to maintain the full ownership of the process by the three countries and the integrity of the AU-led process, agreed to accept the role of observers to share information and proposal when jointly requested by the Countries. On the other hand, Egypt’s and Sudan’s position of granting the observers the same role as the AU is not accepted.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Ethiopia supported the draft communiqué submitted by the Chairperson of the AU with minor adjustments. However, Egypt and Sudan rejected the draft demanding the role of observers to replace that of the three countries and the AU. The two countries followed an approach that seeks to undermine the AU-led process and to take the matter out of the African platform. They also stalled the resumption of the negotiation by rejecting a draft communiqué that contained the deliberations during the two days meeting. Rather both countries attempted to obstruct the process.

Ethiopia`s resolve to reach a settlement on the first filling and related operation of the dam failed to bear result due to Egypt’s and Sudan’s rigid stance to make the negotiation and the outcome a tool to affirm their self-claimed water share and foreclose Ethiopia’s share. Ethiopia cannot enter into an agreement that would foreclose its current and future legitimate rights over the utilization of the Nile.

The second-year filling of the GERD will be carried out as scheduled pursuant to the Declaration of Principles (DoP). In this context, Ethiopia expressed its readiness to facilitate data and information exchange on the filling of the dam. The positions contesting the filling of the dam ahead of the conclusion of an agreement has no basis in law and contravenes Ethiopia`s inherent right to utilize its natural resource.

Ethiopia has enormous respect for the role played by the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E Félix Tshisekedi, the Chairperson of the AU for hosting the meeting to resume the trilateral negotiation. Ethiopia reiterates its position in support of a trilateral process that will maintain the ownership of the countries and integrity of the AU-led process and commits to working towards the conclusion of the trilateral process. Ethiopia expects the meeting will be resumed around the third week of April 2021. Ethiopia expects the reconvening of the meeting upon the call of the current chair of the African Union.

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On #G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on the situation in #Tigray

Press Release

03 April 2021

The Government of Ethiopia has continued intensifying its efforts to address the situation in the Tigray region and has made enormous progress since the law enforcement measures have come to a successful conclusion. Although these positive developments have been recognized and are visible for all to see, the statement issued by the G7’s Foreign Ministers on 02.04.2021 has failed to capture some of the important steps taken to ensure that the pressing needs of the region are in the process of being fully addressed in all fronts.

Unfettered access to humanitarian aid, including international media, has now been fully granted and joint investigation on human rights violations by international human rights experts has also been allowed and will commence soon. Despite these measures, resources that should have been garnered from the international community to meet the humanitarian and development challenges remain far too low. Mobilizing adequate resources, therefore, should be the utmost prior task if the challenges of the region are to be fully and timely addressed.

As announced last week, the Eritrean troops who had crossed the border when provoked by the TPLF have now started to evacuate and the Ethiopian National Defense Force has taken over guarding the national border.

The Interim Administration in collaboration with the Federal Government has also been working tirelessly to be able to bring the governance structure of the region back to full operation with the system has now put in place to the lowest administrative unit. 

It’s been made abundantly clear to the international community that the government of Ethiopia has been trying its level best to reach out to more than 4.2 million people while the supply coming from the international partners is way below one-third of what is needed.

Therefore, whilst the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia honesty appreciates the concerns being expressed, it has already been too apparent that the supply of food and medicinal aid must be the crux of expressions of concerns.

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On #Media, alleged human rights violations and other crimes committed in #Tigray

Press Release

07 April 2021

The international media have been busy reporting crimes of all sorts of nature in the Tigray region since the beginning of the law enforcement operation that followed the unwarranted and surprise attack by the TPLF clique on the members of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force on 4 November 2020. The government of Ethiopia not only sympathizes with the affected people and appreciates the rightful attention given to the protection of the rights of civilians in the Tigray region, but also leaves no stone unturned until the truth is revealed and perpetrators are brought to justice. Be that as it may, the government of Ethiopia believes that it has to set the records straight on slanted reports that continued to portray the federal government as an instigator of all crimes, while the belligerent TPLF appears to be the underdog that happens to be at the receiving ends of the alleged atrocities and human rights violations in the region.

The government of Ethiopia urges the international community to not be easily swayed by the propaganda campaign of the TPLF clique and its sympathizers, including the international media that tend to whitewash the crimes of the clique that has a track record of committing ineffable atrocities on Ethiopians for more than three decades. It should not also be forgotten that the government of Ethiopia has been dealing with a criminal enterprise that had been armed to its teeth and it would be naive to rule out the possibilities of civilian causalities during the rule of law operations in the region. As we have repeatedly said undesirable things might occur when dealing with a group that does not hesitate to use civilians as human shields and their household as hideouts.

The government of Ethiopia, once again, is deeply dismayed by the deaths of civilians and the unfortunate circumstances that led them to endure unbearable situations. The government has a policy of zero tolerance for human rights violations and is committed to holding into account whosoever is involved in the alleged rights violations. The recent agreement between the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN to run a joint investigation on alleged human rights violations in the region is a manifestation of the Ethiopian federal government’s devotion to taking the matter seriously.

Unfortunately, the international community has continued to be bombarded by biased reports that do not corroborate with the facts on the ground. Selective perceptions of news reports and journalists who have continued to observe things through colored glasses taint news outputs that often tend to find the federal government of Ethiopia as the usual suspect for all the allegedly committed human rights violations in the Tigray region. All the rush to accuse the government even tends to overshadow the well-substantiated crime committed against humanity by the TPLF clique on the innocent civilians of the Maikadra town.

The problem with TPLF is not just in initiating the crime, but its resolve to twist the truth and concoct stories through doctored footage in a bid to continue misinforming the world. And the sad thing is that the international media has been readily picking such products of the clique without giving second thoughts while pretending to fail to notice the clique’s wrongs. To make matters worse, TPLF has staunch and bankrolled accomplices who are self-acclaimed gurus on matters of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

The international community will understand the matter at hand objectively by applying a rudimentary level of logical reasoning heeding to the fact that the concerted disinformation campaign by International media on Ethiopia cannot be a basis for the reality on the ground. This understanding entails that Investigations on the credibility and scope of allegations in the region should be substantiated by independent bodies and not by simply relying on the mere accusatory reports of news agencies.

Putting all the blame for alleged crimes on the Ethiopian government and turning a blind eye to the misdeeds of TPLF that continued to play the victim will not be a viable way to give justice to affected people. Acknowledging the initiatives to run independent investigations over the alleged human rights violations in the region could be the first step to take. Holding the irresponsible TPLF clique, that has continued to urge the people of Tigray to continue fighting for meaningless causes, accountable for the sufferings it has caused and the human rights violations it has continued to committing in the region is another step to take as a genuine concern to ease up the sufferings of civilians.

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