How I Brokered Peace Between Warring Ethiopian, Tigrayan Sides – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has narrated how he brokered peace in the Ethiopia and Tigray war. 

Obasanjo detailed his efforts at bringing peace to the region in an article that was released by his media aide Kehinde Akinyemi on Tuesday.

He said the work lasted over 15 years, adding, however, that the cause of the crisis was not “unconnected with the assumption of office by Prime Minister Abiy and the reaction of Tigray leadership to what they perceived as the policies and programs of the prime minister”.

“As I traversed the country consulting with regional leaders and stakeholders in all walks of life, I observed and felt the impact of the destruction and losses at close quarters. I witnessed the wailing and crying of those who had lost loved ones, the sites of mass graves. The frustration, anger, and desperation caused by war was everywhere to be seen,” Obasanjo said.

“At the same time, I encountered local and foreign people — particularly community leaders and people in the civil society – working tirelessly to give help, hope, succor and life to victims and those in need.”

According to him, since the war started in November 2020, there were efforts on several levels to end the fight but they proved unsuccessful.  But he said this did not discourage him from continuing with visits, consultations and discussion.

“After eight months of intense shuttle diplomacy, including eight visits to Mekelle, Capital of Tigray, and the the Chairperson of AU Commission enlarging my panel with addition of former President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa, we finally succeeded,” Obasanjo said.

“A peace agreement was signed by the delegates and representatives of the Ethiopian Federal Government, TPLF and the Tigray people on Nov. 2.

“After five days of intense discussions in Nairobi Kenya in November, the military commanders agreed on modalities for the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.”

He believes that while attempts would be made to “dig holes in the agreement,” it “must be implemented in good faith”.
“The peace agreement and its implementation must be owned by the leaders and people of Ethiopia,” the former president added.
“The panel and the observers are mere facilitators, there to provide a guiding hand if needed.”
Read the full article below:
My Ethiopia-Tigray experience and the road to peace – Obasanjo
Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo is the African Union’s envoy to the Horn of Africa and oversaw the peace talks in Ethiopia. In this piece, he shares his experience on the conflict and proffer suggestions to how the peace move can be sustained.
Over the last fifteen months, I have been working as High Representative of African Union in the Horn of Africa to promote peace, security and stability. Because of its strategic position and the conflict raging in its northern region of Tigray, the focus and fulcrum has been Ethiopia.
After receiving my mandate from the Chairperson of AU Commission, Ambassador Moussa Faki Mahamat, I set out to seek the point of entry into a conflict which dates back to Solomonic times in the Bible or back to 2018 when Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy assumed office, depending on whom you are talking to.
Whatever the history, background or remote causes of the civil war in Tigray region, its immediate cause was not unconnected with the assumption of office by Prime Minister Abiy and the reaction of Tigray leadership to what they perceived as the policies and programs of the prime minister. The last straw was the alleged attack on the northern command of the Ethiopian Army located in Tigray by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

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