Coinciding with Blinken's visit to Addis Ababa: Ethiopia removes Tigray forces from terrorist list
In a step towards peace in Ethiopia after war broke out in November 2020 between the forces of the Tigray region and the forces of the federal government in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian parliament announced on Wednesday, March 22, that the Tigray People's Liberation Front forces stationed in the north of the country had been removed from the list of terrorist entities.
Ethiopian parliament’s statement
In an official statement, the Ethiopian parliament confirmed that it had adopted a decision to revoke the terrorist designation of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) by a majority of votes, in a step aimed at implementing the peace agreement reached in the South African capital, Pretoria, between the Ethiopian federal government and the TPLF.
This step follows the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in March to discuss the file of reconciliation between the federal government and the forces of the Tigray region.
In May 2021, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government classified the Tigray People's Liberation Front as a terrorist organization, despite the group having ruled Addis Ababa for three decades, before it was gradually marginalized with Ahmed’s arrival in 2018.
According to United Nations estimates, the conflict between the Ethiopian forces and the Tigray rebels has resulted in at least 500,000 deaths, making it one of the bloodiest wars of the 21st century, dwarfing the toll of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
For his part, Nasser Mamoun Essa, a researcher of African affairs, said that according to the peace agreement concluded in South Africa between the Ethiopian federal government and the TPLF forces, the Ethiopian parliament unanimously agreed to remove the front’s name from the terrorist list in implementation of the agreement.
In a special statement to the Reference, Essa confirmed that this decision would secure the next steps in the agreement, as well as enable the TPLF to return to play its primary role at the federal and regional levels.
Essa pointed out that this will not lead to the return of the Tigray people to the Ethiopian national epic, as the matter has become necessary for a comprehensive national dialogue to achieve a partial return to the ranks of the Ethiopian community and to achieve the lost national integration in the country that brings together the largest ethnic group in Africa, as it is still faltering to achieve this integration, which is still a long way off.
In the same context, Abu al-Fadl al-Isnawi, editor-in-chief of the Al Siyassa Al Dawliya magazine, said that the international community is aware that the collapse of the fragile situation in northern Ethiopia from the fighting that was taking place between the conflicting parties leads to strengthening the state of internal instability in Addis Ababa and will result in catastrophic matters for the security and regional situation in East Africa.
In a special statement to the Reference, Isnawi stressed that the worsening humanitarian situation in the Tigray region deepens the repercussions of the drought that struck many regions, adding that this was reflected in regional and international positions as a result of the outbreak of the situation in northern Ethiopia again.
Isnawi explained that this agreement would establish an interim administration in the Tigray region, followed by its secession and a return of calm to the East African region, which is likely to witness an international conflict during the coming period.