Statement by Aklilu Hailemichael (Ph.D.),
Official Representative of the Government of Tigray to Europe and former state Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia
August 25, 2022
Recent developments have started clearly revealing the intentions of the Abiy’s regime on the question of peaceful resolution of its conflict with Tigray. The peace process has now failed because of Abiy’s false promises and deceptive approach. The developments outlined below equivocally prove that Abiy never had a genuine interest in peace, but he has been using peace talks as a delaying tactic to buy time for another round of military offensive against Tigray which was launched on August 24, 2022.
Key developments leading to the failure of the peace process
!. More than a year ago, Abiy had promised the UNSG, Antonio Guterez that he would lift the siege on Tigray. Abiy broke his promise and did not stop the siege.
- On the promise of Abiy that the siege would be lifted, Tigray Defense Forces withdrew from Afar. Abiy for the second time reneged on this promise.
- Tigray released more than 4200 prisoners of war in response to the request of the peace envoys particularly the African Union. Abiy denied that the POWS are his soldiers and has put those released in solitary confinement.
- With the objective of facilitating humanitarian assistance including resumption of basic services, both sides declared cessation of hostilities in March this year. Abiy for the fourth time broke his word and continued the total blockade and impeded humanitarian access
- In a meeting that took place in Djibouti on the 13th of June this year in the presence of one of the key-players in global politics, an agreement was reached in the following areas between both parties.
- Put in place a system for unfettered humanitarian aid access to Tigray including fertilizers and fuel
- Restart all basic services (mainly telecom, power, bank and transport) in two weeks’ time after the announcement of readiness for negotiation by the prosperity party. It is to be recalled that the prosperity party has done the announcement after a week of the Djibouti meeting.
- Resolve the issues surrounding Western Tigray in the context of the constitution and Eritrean and Amhara forces will withdraw.
These promises were documented by the representatives of the interlocutor that facilitated the meeting. Abiy broke these promises again.
- Abiy requested for a security guarantee to technicians coming to Tigray to restart the basic services. Tigray gave a written assurance on 2 Aug 2022 to the regime via the especial envoys and other members of the international community who visited Mekelle and was expecting a response from the authorities in Addis but for yet again Abiy broke his promise.
Resumption of armed hostilities by Ethiopia
The developments outlined equivocally prove that Abiy never had genuine interest in peace. On the other hand, the government of Tigray has done everything that the International Community requested to create a conducive environment for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The series of Abiy’s false promises make it abundantly clear that Abiy has been using peace talks as a delaying tactic to buy time for another round of military offensive against Tigray which it launched on August 24, 2022.
- On August 15, 2022 around 4 pm local time, the Ethiopian National Defence Forces bombarded positions of the Tigray army around Dedebit (North Western part of Tigray) for an hour with heavy artilleries and tanks. Tigray forces did not fire back.
- Through this bombardment, the regime in Addis has violated the mutual understanding reached on Cessation of Hostilities (humanitarian truce) last March.
- Since the beginning of August, there has been heavy movement of Ethiopian soldiers, Amhara Forces and Fano militias close to the borders of Tigray from its southern side.
- On August 23, the Ministry of Defense declared that it banned reporting on fighting. The Ministry made it public that it gave permission only to some media to cover news of developments in its army. This clearly shows Abiy was preparing for another round of fighting.
- On 24th of August 5am local time, Abiy launched a large-scale offensive in the Southern part of Tigray, further violating the agreed cessation of hostilities. Abiy is attacking Tigray at this time because he thinks the blockade has starved and weakened the people to the extent, they cannot defend themselves.