ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian rebel leader Debretsion Gebremichael has reiterated his readiness to hold peace talks with his country’s central government in Addis Ababa with the participation of the African Union as a mediator, but condemned what he calls the continental body’s betrayal of the AU principles.
Peace talks between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the insurgent group Debretsion leads, are expected to take place in the Kenyan capital Nairobi under the auspices of the African Union in a bid to try to find ways to end the deadly conflict that has almost isolated Ethiopia among the international community.
In an open letter, addressed to the AU, Kenya, Tanzania and the UAE, Debretsion reiterated his group’s preparedness and willingness for peace talks to end the Ethiopian conflict and said that he has been calling on the international and the regional communities to pressure Addis Ababa to accept talks.
“I am writing to make crystal clear the position of the Government of the National Regional State of Tigray with respect to peace talks with the Federal Government of Ethiopia and other Ethiopian parties,” Debretsion said in the open letter a part of which was obtained by Sudans Post.
“Since the outbreak of war in Ethiopia in November 2020 we have been open to good faith peace negotiations convened by an impartial third party, consistent with the Norms and Principles of the African Union and the United Nations. Since our Government resumed authority over the major part of Tigray State in June 2021 we have repeated that call,” he added in the letter.
He further said that his group is “prepared to negotiate for peace consistent with fundamental principles of human rights, democracy, and accountability, based upon the positions agreed through the deliberations of the Government of Tigray. We are not prepared to make secret deals or bargain away our principles for material inducements.”
The Ethiopian rebel leader said however that the silence of the African Union, since the outbreak of war, over alleged war crimes he claimed to have been committed by the federal Ethiopian forces against civilians in the Tigray region is a betrayal of the principles on which basis the African Union was formed.
“The silence of the African Union over the war and the atrocities perpetrated by the forces ranged against us was a betrayal of the Foundational Principles of the Union,” Debretsion said.
“We have consistently condemned the failure of the African Union Chairperson and his High Representative to take a position consistent with their solemn obligations under the Constitutive Act of the Union, the Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council, and a host of other commitments entered into. In the considered view of the People and Government of Tigray the leadership of the African Union Commission has yet to redeem its failures and restore our trust,” he added.
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