In a speech delivered at the United Nations, Ethiopia has called for the expedited implementation of the peace agreement in the Tigray region, emphasizing the disarmament of former rebel forces.
The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) reached a crucial accord in Pretoria last November, effectively halting a devastating two-year conflict.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen addressed the UN General Assembly, highlighting the substantial progress made in implementing the agreement, despite occasional delays in the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process.
Demeke emphasized the importance of accelerating this process to ensure its successful conclusion. Under the Pretoria deal, the TPLF, once a dominant political force in Ethiopia, committed to disarm as government forces advanced.
In January, an African Union monitoring mission confirmed the TPLF’s initiation of surrendering heavy weaponry. Additionally, Tigray authorities reported in July that over 50,000 fighters had been demobilized. However, the full extent of implementation remains uncertain.
Demeke underlined the commitment of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government to establish and maintain peace and stability across the nation, despite intense international scrutiny and criticism, particularly from the United States, regarding alleged human rights violations.
He also praised the Pretoria agreement as a tangible representation of African solutions addressing African challenges. Nevertheless, challenges persist, as forces from the neighboring Amhara region maintain control over Western Tigray, presenting a potential source of tension.
The Pretoria agreement originally called for the withdrawal of foreign forces, but residents report the continued presence of troops from neighboring Eritrea, which has faced accusations of severe abuses following its intervention against the TPLF.