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NewsPeace-hope wanes as Pretoria agreement implementation remains elusive

Peace-hope wanes as Pretoria agreement implementation remains elusive

US warns Ethiopia, Eritrea to refrain from provocations

– Conflicts in Oromia, Amhara “Disturbing”- Western Embassies

A year after the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in Pretoria, South Africa, implementations and deliverables beyond the ceasefire have proven elusive.

Leaders in war-torn Tigray say the promises of the Pretoria Peace Deal remain unfulfilled for their suffering people.

Despite vehement calls for urgency during the agreement’s signing, its implementation has hit significant obstacles.

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“Even though we have been combating anything hindering the Pretoria agreement’s implementation, it has not delivered our people from endless suffering,” reads a statement by the Tigray Interim Administration (TIA) issued on Thursday.

The TIA noted that nearly a million Tigrayans remain internally displaced as several parts of Tigray remain occupied by Eritrean forces and informally armed groups from Amhara.

Per the Nairobi agreement, all non-ENDF forces must withdraw from Tigrayan territory. The parties also agreed to restore Tigray’s territorial integrity according to Ethiopia’s constitution, which the TIA says is yet to materialize. Humanitarian assistance also remains in disarray.

Nevertheless, it is internal divisions between the Interim Admin and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that has the TIA worried. Sources report that the TIA, led by Getachew Reda, and the TPLF, led by Debretsion Gebremichael, have competing supporters in Tigray. Both are said to obstruct each other’s work.

The TPLF reportedly demands the TIA be placed under its full supervision, contrary to the regulation establishing the interim administration as accountable to the federal government, not the TPLF, until elections are held.

Observers indicate TPLF officials are attempting to undermine the TIA to avoid accountability for crimes during the conflict once transitional justice begins.

Commemorating the CoHA anniversary, the international community urged implementation, especially Eritrean forces’ withdrawal from Tigray per the agreement.

The US statement appreciated the progress made to silence the guns, depicting the TPLF as meeting commitments while other parties falter. It also depicts that Asmara and Addis Ababa are at odds since the signing of the agreement.

In a statement on November 2nd, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged steps taken by TPLF forces but called for a lasting peace and stability in Tigray, including the full withdrawal of Eritrean troops and an end to provocations in the region.

“While TPLF forces have disarmed their heavy weapons and begun to demobilize, more actions are needed to bring lasting peace and stability to Tigray. Eritrean forces must fully withdraw. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea must refrain from provocation and respect the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of all countries in the region,” the letter reads.

A group of 10 embassies in Addis Ababa, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK echoed those calls in their own joint statement.

They stressed the need for withdrawal of Eritrean and non-government forces from Tigray, return of IDPs, implementation of demobilization efforts, restoration of services and humanitarian aid, credible transitional justice, and support for conflict victims.

Only the African Union (AU) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) commended the agreements progress as a “milestone achievement.”

Eritrea’s Minister of Information dismissed Western countries’ withdrawal calls as an “unsubstantiated smear campaign.”

“For the US and certain European countries, Eritrea remains a soft political punch-bag to routinely throw their unsubstantiated allegations as today’s statement on anniversary of Pretoria agreement. This stems partially from diplomatic inertia but also constitutes will-full smear campaign,” he said.

Ethiopia’s shifting security focus to fresh conflicts in Oromia and Amhara regions indicates the Pretoria deal merely shifted the conflict elsewhere, reports suggest.

The 10 embassies called ongoing violence in those areas “disturbing.”

Blinken stated: “We also remain concerned about ongoing conflicts – in Amhara, Oromia, and elsewhere – that threaten Ethiopia’s fragile peace. Continued human rights violations and abuses by multiple actors and the circulation of toxic rhetoric further erode a social fabric worn thin by war.”

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