Leaders of the Tigray regional state are ramping up their preparations for negotiations with the federal government of Ethiopia before the region’s interim administration is installed. The federal government’s responses, however, haven’t matched the level of urgency shown by the Tigrayan side.
This week, a committee put together by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) introduced a document to the people in the region to gauge their opinions on the type of interim government that should be set up in the region.
“We are preparing for the negotiation we will make with the federal government. There is nothing that will be done without reaching an agreement with the federal government,” Getachew Reda, a member of the TPLF executive and one of the negotiators of the Pretoria peace deal, told The Reporter. “I cannot confirm whether the federal government is preparing or not.”
He says that negotiating with the federal government to establish the interim government is inevitable based on the Pretoria agreement.
In accordance with the Pretoria Peace Accord signed on November 2, 2022 between the federal government and the TPLF, a regional interim administration will be formed “until elections for the Regional Council and the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) are held under the supervision of the Ethiopian National Election Board,” with the formation of this administration to be settled through political dialogue between the parties.
Interim government members are likely to include the TPLF, the incumbent Prosperity Party (PP), and Tigray’s opposition parties. Nonetheless, Getachew claims that the federal Parliament is expected to make headway on delisting the TPLF as a terrorist organization.
On the other hand, some with knowledge of the situation suggest that the TPLF’s planned negotiation is primarily intended to obtain the regional president’s position while leaving deputy roles for the PP and opposition leaders.
Already, Tigray’s opposition parties are complaining that the TPLF isn’t letting them have a say in the planning process.
For its part, the federal government has formed a committee consisting of the Ministry of Defense and Intelligence Agency to initiate preparations for the installation of the interim administration. Yet, there is no set date for the Administration’s formation.
“We are undertaking the necessary preparations we have to make to form the interim administration. But that does not mean our word will be the final word. The federal government can accept our proposal fully or partially. That will be seen after the negotiation,” Getachew said. He did not, however, specify the negotiating points with the federal government.
The contested Wolkait area, which is claimed by the Amhara regional state, is reportedly a major negotiating point.
Observers say the TPLF has leverage since it accuses the federal government of not doing more to ensure the withdrawal of Amhara and Eritrean forces from Tigray.
Regarding accountability and the acceptance of the UN International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE), Getachew said, “We recommend the federal government to accept the commission.”