Today could be critical in resolving the Tigray war

2022-01-23 21:58:33 Written by  Martin Plaut Published in English Articles Read 242 times

AFRICAERITREAETHIOPIAHORN OF AFRICA

David Satterfield

It is far too early to be sure, but there are some signs that diplomacy could be making some progress in ending the Tigray war.

This statement from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres is worth reading with care.

The United Nations secretary-general said Wednesday he was delighted to hear “there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace” in Ethiopia after more than 14 months of war, but he gave no details.

Antonio Guterres’ statement came after a call with African Union envoy Olusegun Obasanjo following the envoy’s latest visit to Addis Ababa and the capital of Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region.

Guterres said Obasanjo “expressed optimism that there is now a real opportunity for political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict.” His statement did not describe efforts by Ethiopia’s government and the rival Tigray forces.

Obasanjo’s spokesman, the spokeswoman for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray forces spokesman didn’t immediately respond to questions.

A new U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador David Satterfield, is set to meet with Ethiopian officials on Thursday.

David Satterfield and Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee are at the end of a trip that took them to Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

Little has been released about their negotiations, but it could be that they have asked the Saudis to use their good offices with Eritrea and Ethiopia to try to end the war in Tigray.

Let us not forget that the Eritrea-Ethiopia peace deal was signed in Saudi Arabia in 2018.

 

At the same time there are indications that point in the opposite direction.

There are reports of yet more drone attacks on the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle and unconfirmed reports of fighting in western Tigray.

Plus belligerent remarks by the Ethiopian military:

“Finishing chapter one literally means there is chapter two. But Mekelle…Tigray is the territory of Ethiopia. No one will stop us; we will enter, we will destroy the enemy. There is nothing controversial about it,” Gen. Abebaw Tadesse, Deputy Army Chief of Staff.

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Will it be more war, or a chance for peace? It’s too early to know, but the waiting may soon be over.

Last modified on Sunday, 23 January 2022 23:02