News: Federal army, Tigray topmost military leaders meet today amidst Tigrayan criticism on disarmament

From Left: Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, Chief of the Ethiopian Defense Force and General Tadesse Worede, chief of Tigrayan forces. Picture Credit: Screenshot/FBC/TigrayTV

Addis Ababa – As the sequel of the peace agreement on cessation of hostilities and war between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), the top military leadership of the federal army and Tigrayan forces are set to meet in Nairobi, Kenya, today, Ambassador Redwan Hussien, Security Advisor to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

While briefing members of the diplomatic community based in Addis Abeba on the outcome of the peace talks and agreements signed in South Africa, Ambassador Redwan disclosed on Saturday 05 November that higher military officials of the two sides will meet to discuss plans of implementing the signed peace agreement.

Although Ambassador Redwan did not mention the names of the top military leaders of the two sides, several reports indicate that the meeting will be attended, by Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, Chief of the Ethiopian Defense Force and General Tadesse Worede, chief of Tigrayan forces, among others.

The Ambassador is quoted as saying that the two military leaders already had a phone conversation following the announcement of the peace accord and they are expected to meet today face to face and discuss ways of disarming the Tigray forces commonly referred to as Tigrayan Defence Forces (TDF) and mentioned as “TPLF combatants” in the agreement reached in South Africa.

“Article 6- Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR)” of the peace agreement stipulates that the two sides “agree and recognize that the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has only one defense force.” Accordingly, the two said “agree to organize a meeting of senior commanders within 5 days from the signing of this Agreement to discuss and work out detailed modalities for disarmament for the TPLF combatants, taking into account the security situation on the ground.”

The article also stipulated that the two sides agreed “the overall disarmament of the TPLF combatants, including light weapons within 30 days from the signing of this Agreement.”

However, the peace agreement, particularly the section which contains details of the DDR, has faced criticism from opposition political parties operating in Tigray and the Tigrayan diaspora community.

The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals (GSTS), an influential civic organization representing over 5,000 Tigrayan scholars and professionals worldwide, has rejected some of the Articles in the peace agreement.

GSTS said it strongly opposes the provisions of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) that directly contravene the vital interests of the people of Tigray, according to a statement released by the group on 4 November.

The statement said Article 6, which states Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) “completely deprived the people of Tigray of their inherent rights and will of the people of Tigray including through referendum”.

It emphasizes, that “accepting a single armed force and agreed to the disarmament and termination of Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) is leaving the people of Tigray in the hands of forces accused of horrendous atrocity crimes.”

The scholars totally rejected the disbandment of what they call Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) saying that “TDF is the sole provider of the security of Tigray”.

In a joint statement released last week, three Tigray political parties namely – Tigray Independent Party, Salsay Weyane Tigray, National Congress of Great Tigray – have also rejected the agreement citing several provisions including the DDR. AS

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