The Ethiopian Reconciliation Commission (ERC) disclosed that its efforts to mediate the current impasse between the Federal government and Tigray Regional State have been hampered by pre-conditions set by both parties before they sit at a round table.
Chairman of the Reconciliation Commission, Berhaneyesus Demerew Suraphel [who is also the head of the Ethiopian Catholic Church], accompanied by his vice, Yetnebersh Negussie and Debebe Eshetu, briefed journalists on Thursday regarding the commission’s first quarter performance and responded to several outstanding issues raised by the media.
According to the Reconciliation Commission, over 370 traditional reconciliation and conflict resolution mechanisms were documented during the first quarter of the Ethiopian budget year.
The ERC Chairperson, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Suraphel, said a series of studies that inform and shape reconciliation activities in the future have been conducted by the youth.
Responding to questions regarding the commission’s effort in soothing the tension between the Tigray regional administration and the federal government, the Cardinal said that both sides have been expressing there willingness to address the gaps between them. However, major challenges remain as politicians underline their own respective pre-conditions to share a table and conduct the dialogue. The Cardinal declined to state the details of the preconditions stated by both sides.
He, nevertheless, noted that the commission has learnt of “a very constructive and good gesture from the Tigray administration.”
Vice chairman of the commission, Yetnebersh, for her part disclosed that she was impressed by the gesture the commission officials received from Tigray region in a meeting they had with the regional administrator, Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), and his entire cabinet in Mekelle.
The Cardinal further noted that the inclusion of youth in the process of reconciliation is critical to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the country.
ERC has also identified and engaged strategic partners to help the commission provide a robust service to the public during the stated period. Accordingly, the commission has signed two cooperation agreements with the Ministry of Peace and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the chairperson revealed.
The agreement with the Ministry of Peace, he explained, aims at enabling the two parties cooperate in capacity building and exchange of information as well as synergizing efforts, where applicable.
Conducting research, community service, and expanding the commission’s outreach were stated to be among the major targets of the agreement between the commission and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
Yetnebersh Nigussie, ERC Deputy Chairperson and Right Livelihood Award winner, said one of the major targets of the second quarter will be to work on national consensus and creating a favorable environment for an inclusive dialogue among various actors.
The Ethiopian Reconciliation Commission is an independent and autonomous institution established in February 2019, tasked with realizing peace, justice, national reconciliation, and unity among the Ethiopian people.