Rome, 23 November 2020
Africa ExPress contacted the ambassador of Ethiopia in Italy, Mrs Zenebu Tadesse Woldetsadik. Her Excellency provides answers to some common questions about the conflict in the country
1. What do you think are the main reasons behind the latest fighting in the Tigray region?
Since Prime Minister Abyi Ahmed came to power on April 2018, The TPLF criminal group sponsored trained and equipped any one that was willing to engage in violent and illegal acts in order to hinder the ongoing reform. However, the Federal Government tried to minimize differences by opening dialogue, negotiation and reconciliation over the past two years. The TPLF has rejected all peaceful options and defying Federal government and the Constitution, TPLF arranged an illegal election and declared the Federal Government as illegitimate. This is completely against the constitution and was publicly condemned by the parliament. After all this engagement, The TPLF has attacked the northern command of The Ethiopian National Defence Force on November 04, 2020.
This is the reason that triggered the law enforcement operation to start operation when TPLF crossed the redline November 4, 2020. The special force of this criminal group has attacked the northern command of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces that has been stationed in Tigray for the past 21 years. This surprise attack was causing unimaginable human suffering and showing extreme cruelty.
Therefore, the Government ordered the Federal Defence Forces to defend and restore law and order in the country. The Federal Government is responsible to establish and maintain the rule of law; protect and defend the Constitution and ensure peace and security of the nation. The law enforcement operation continues until such acts of cruelty and betrayal come to an end. The operation will end within a short period of time.
2. Are there any attempts of negotiations?
At this moment, there is no ground to seat with criminal groups who have committed the highest treason in the history. But this doesn’t mean that Federal
government has no concern for peaceful resolutions. Earlier the Federal government has tried its best by opening up the space for dialogues, negotiations and reconciliation by sending elders, prominent personality’s, religious leaders, women and youth but TPLF has rejected all the offered peaceful options.
Now the government is taking action to maintain rule of law and bringing the criminals to force of justice.
3. Is it true that people from Tigray have been side-lined in the last few years?
No absolutely it is not true. TPLF was a dominant political power in Ethiopia for almost three decades before current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018 by popular protest against oppressive, manipulative and corrupt TPLF. Examining not the last two to three years but also the current Federal government, you can get ministers, advisers to the PM, Commissioners and another high ranked official from Tigray. The Tigray people are getting whatever they supposed to get in all aspects.
The people of Tigray was/is side-lined by Ethiopia/Ethiopian is a false claim which cannot substantiate with evidence. Not only the vast people Tigray but also TPLF leaders were leading different ministries and higher institutions at federal level until TPLF called them to leave their higher post in the federal government as part of its multidimensional provocation.
The current law enforcement operation in Tigray doesn’t have an ethnic or other bias rather it targets the disgruntled and rogue members of the TPLF clique that have been destabilizing Ethiopia through direct and indirect activities.
4. Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr. Abiy has been a light hope for the whole of African continent after he was awarded the peace Nobel Prize. Peoples are now wondering how a peace Nobel Prize can be at war in his own country. What is your opinion about it?
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is trying to sustain peace in the country. Wining the Noble Peace prize doesn’t mean he has to seat back while criminals puting the peace in the country at stake. At the outset, the federal government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is not in war with peace loving Tigray peoples. It is a law enforcement operation directed towards intransigent and rogue members of the TPLF clique that have been destabilizing Ethiopia and based themselves in Tigray.
In the last three years, the TPLF Junta have been busily engaged in sponsoring and training individuals and groups that destabilize the country and undermine the government reforms. Consequently the TPLF orchestrated ethnic and religious violence across all regions of Ethiopia. Knowing all these activities the federal government opt for negotiation, reconciliation and integration which seen as weakness before the TPLF faction. In the end, on 4 November, TPLF manipulated attacks carried out on the Ethiopian National Defence Force stationed in Tigray Regional State.
There is no country that tolerates attack on its National defence Force. On 13th November 2020, a Senior TPLF Member Sekuture Getachew, makes a shameless admission to have usurped all artilleries and undertaken a surprise and lightning strike on the Northern Command of Ethiopian National Defence Forces on local media called “Dimtse weyane”. In this regard, no constitutional order can tolerate such level of treason. That is why the federal government was compelled to launch the current law enforcement operations to defend and protect the constitutional order and uphold the rule of law.
5. A few days ago some rockets hit the Eritrean capital Asmara; do you think this conflict could put the peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea in danger?
Ethiopia and Eritrea has solved the conflict and the “no peace no war” situation which existed for more than two decades when H.E. Abiy Ahmed came to power.
The two countries have understood the value of peace and there is no way they will go back to that situation again.
The intention behind the reckless action of the TPLF, hitting Eritrea with rockets, is to make the situation international and catch the attention of the international community. They assume that if they hit Eritrea, the Eritrea government will react and that will lead for the international actors to intervene. However the wise decisions of the leaders of the two governments abort this intention of the TPLF. The Government of Eritrea showed its recognition for the Federal government of Ethiopia that it will handle its internal situation by itself.
Therefore the action of the TPLF will not put the peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea in Danger.
6. What is Ethiopian government doing to resolve the humanitarian crises that arise after the fighting?
Regarding issues raised on humanitarian aspects, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has the primary responsibility to meet the basic needs of all Ethiopians, including those affected by the ongoing operation to ensure rule of law and bring the criminals to justice in the Tigray Regional State. Accordingly, the Government is taking all the necessary measures to Restore peace, security, law and order in the Tigray Regional State and ensure the full protection of civilians affected/that may be affected by the ongoing operation and Provide and deliver the needed assistance, including humanitarian assistance to those affected/that may be affected by the ongoing operation in the Tigray Regional State. And also through the Ministry of Peace, Administration of Refugees and Returnees and Disaster Risk, the government is working in close coordination with International Humanitarian Organization. Currently a team which responsible for repatriation of the citizen that are destabilized is formulated. The team is working on the ways to bring back our citizens to their palaces.
H.E. Zenebu Tadesse Woldetsadik