TPLF seems to changing its position on timeline for disarmament of Tigray fighters. Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a peace agreement with Ethiopian federal government on November 2 to end 2-year long armed conflict in northern Ethiopia.
The peace deal signed by Tigray-based political party TPLF, which remained main ruling party in Ethiopia as part of EPRDF alliance from 1991 to 2018, agreed to disarming of its fighters in the peace agreement signed in Pretoria South Africa earlier this month. The disarmament section of the agreement stipulates that TPLF fighters will surrender heavy and light weapons within one month of the signing of the agreement.
After Pretoria, parties to the conflict met in Nairobi to decide the modalities of disarmament. Tigray military commander Tadesse Werede and Ethiopian army field marshal signed a declaration there liking disarmament of Tigray fighters and withdrawal of foreign (Eritrean) and non-ENDF (Amhara) forces from the Tigray region.
Deadline for completion of disarmament, according to Pretoria agreement, is December 2. While the cessation of hostilities is holding, no considerable progress on disarmament of TPLF fighters and withdrawal of forces from Tigray has been made.
Getachew Reda, Tigray Presidential spokesperson and member of TPLF’s central committee, appeared on BBC Hard Talk on Wednesday. In response to a question by the host, he said that disarmament was a political decision and it could take months, if not years, to complete it.
Tigray government’s new position that disarmament could take months is a clear violation of Pretoria agreement. Tigray’s military and political leaders have been warning that disarming of Tigray fighters without withdrawal of Eritrean military from the region would be tantamount to endangering the lives of people of Tigray.
Since the signing of the peace agreement, no large scale withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from the Tigray region has been seen. In a statement last week, Tigray regional government accused Eritrean government of spoiling the peace deal. Read more..
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, spoke with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed this week and urged urgent implementation of the peace deal. US played a key role in bringing the warring parties to the table to negotiate under the auspices of African Union.
It seems that implementation of the recent deals signed in Pretoria and Nairobi between TPLF and Ethiopian federal government would take sustained commitment and sincerity from the parties to the conflict and mediators.