News: Gov’t trying to convince Tigrayan authorities to “respect the law of the land, to respect the constitution, to act as one state in Ethiopia”: PM

PM Abiy Ahmed seen holding hands with Tigray state President Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), who was then the vice President, in Axum city on 10 June 2019. Picture: PMO/Archive

Addis Abeba – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the federal government is “trying to convince [the] TPLF to respect the law of the land, to respect the constitution, to act as one state in Ethiopia.”

Speaking to CGTN, PM Abiy said that peace was a “foundation for prosperity,” and that his government is “working towards peace.”

“Peace is a foundation for prosperity, peace is a foundation for a country which aspires to produce enough food, to secure food sufficiency. Without peace there is no way that we can realize our vision, so we are working towards peace,” PM Abiy said.

He added that if the Tigrayan authorities could understand the government’s interest, and “believe [in] their own constitution and work accordingly, I think peace will be achieved.”

Without mentioning names, the PM also remarked about “lots of intervention from left and right,” and that “sometimes it is very difficult.”

“Ethiopians should understand, we can solve our own issue by ourselves; instead of listening from far, better to respect our own law, better to respect our own culture, better to respect our own customary. If we could do that peace is achievable, I hope we will achieve that.”

His remarks came as the AU-led peace talks between his government’s representatives and the Tigrayan authorities have been extended “into this week.” The talks were started on Tuesday 25 October and was scheduled to end on Sunday 30 October. There hasn’t been official statement from the AU on the extension of the peace talks or the progresses that have been made so far.

On Monday, October 31 the spokesperson for the US State Department Ned Price said the extension of the talks indicates the “distance” between the negotiating parties.

“It’s an indication that the parties arrived in South Africa with quite a bit of distance between them, but it’s also an indication that the parties continue to be willing to sit down together in what we hope to be a constructive atmosphere and ultimately an atmosphere when the parties can discuss their differences and continue to narrow the distance between them.”

“The objective [of the talks] is quite simple: to achieve an immediate cessation of hostilities, to achieve the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all Ethiopians in need, additional measures – securing measures to protect civilians, and seeing Eritrea’s withdrawal from northern Ethiopia,” he added.

The US Special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Mike Hammer, who “continues to be both as a participant and an observer” will remain in South Africa for as long as the talks continue, Ned said, adding,  “at least that’s his plan as of now.  We think it is a good thing that the parties continue to talk.”

The peace talks gathered significant momentum following the Chairperson’s call on 15 October for “an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and resumption of humanitarian services” in the Tigray region. Secretary Blinken echoed the Chairperson’s call this week with a statement highlighting the need for “immediate cessation of hostilities” as “a first priority.” He also called on “the delegations to agree on unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need, measures to protect civilians, and Eritrea’s withdrawal from northern Ethiopia.”

The talks are being facilitated by Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, along with former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Deputy President of South Africa Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

According to the AU, representatives of IGAD, UN and the US are participating in the talks as observers. AS

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