The African Union Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo is optimistic that peace can be secured in northern Ethiopia, he said in a statement on Saturday, November 13.
The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and their allies have been fighting for a year, and the United States, the United Nations, and others have estimated that thousands of people have been killed while tens of thousands have been displaced. In addition, millions of people are at an increased risk of famine in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions as the government continues to enforce a humanitarian blockade.
In his statement released by the African Union, Obasanjo, a former Nigerian President, expressed optimism that the various factions can resolve their differences through dialogue.
He wrote, “I note the recent statement by the Federal Government of Ethiopia through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 11th November 2021 highlighting the conditions and order of preference of the government with respect to a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict with the Tigray Peo- ple’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
“In my recent engagements in Mekelle with the leadership of the TPLF, their prioritised conditions were similarly presented to me.
“In addition, I have had encouraging meetings with the leaders of Oromia and Amhara regions while I have scheduled to meet with the leadership of Afar region upon my return to Ethiopia. I have also met with leaders across the region including the Presidents of Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, South Sudan, Somalia and the leadership of Sudan.
“I am optimistic that common ground towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict can be secured. The interlocutors I have engaged on all sides have stated their wish for peace, security, and stability in Ethiopia. The main point of difference between the actors is in the means by which they seek to achieve this essential objective.
“War represents a failure of politics. Thus dialogue remains the only reliable and sustainable avenue to peace. There is no military solution to the conflict and battlefield victory cannot guarantee political stability in Ethiopia.
“I, therefore, appeal to the leadership of all sides to halt their military offensives. This will allow an opportunity for dialogue to continue to progress. Such talks cannot deliver in an environment of escalated military hostilities.
“I further call on all people of goodwill and leaders in Africa and the international community to continue to support our mediation efforts and to refrain from actions or rhetoric that will, wittingly or unwittingly, worsen the conflict.
“I, too, remain dedicated to the cause of peace, and we will continue to work towards this goal, without which human security and development cannot be achieved.”