Critical Ethiopian diplomat urges peace talks in Tigray war

Ethiopia Tigray

People displaced by the recent conflict gather around water points provided by the International Rescue Committee at a makeshift camp for the displaced in Embadanso school in Shire, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. For months, one great unknown in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict has been the fate of hundreds of thousands of people in vast rural areas beyond the reach of outside aid, but now thousands who have been hiding there have begun arriving in a community that can barely support them. (International Rescue Committee via AP)

An Ethiopian diplomat who quit his post in the United States over concerns about atrocities in Tigray is calling for peace talks between the government and the embattled region’s fugitive leaders.

Berhane Kidanemariam served as the deputy chief of mission at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington until early March. In an interview with The Associated Press late Thursday, he warned that a protracted war in Tigray is devastating the region’s 6 million people.

“We have to prioritize peaceful settlement and negotiation,” he said. “Without peaceful settlement and negotiation, peace couldn’t prevail. The only solution is peace talks.”

Between 60,000 and 70,000 people are now believed to have died in the war since November, he said, citing information gleaned from sources inside Ethiopia. Most of the victims are “civilians, especially the youngsters,” he said.

Ethiopian authorities have not given a death toll in the Tigray war.

Kidanemariam said that Tigrayan fighters “are getting better” in their defenses, increasing the likelihood of a long war in which reported abuses already include massacres, rapes, forced displacement, and the vandalism of priceless cultural sites.

“Anything which the human beings can use” has been destroyed in some way, he said, describing the looting of everything from banks to churches and mosques. “It’s horrible even to explain it.”

Kidanemariam hails from the Tigray region, the base of a party that dominated national politics for decades before the rise of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. But he said his background had not influenced his decision to call it “a genocidal war.”

“I don’t need to be Tigrayan,” Kidanemariam said, referring to his March 10 resignation. “Seeing this kind of horrible, catastrophic war, I couldn’t tolerate it.”

The conflict began in November, when Abiy sent government troops into Tigray after an attack there on federal military facilities. Fighting persists even as Ethiopian authorities insist the situation there is returning to normal.

The Ethiopian prime minister, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his efforts to make peace with Eritrea, now faces pressure to end the war as well as to institute an international investigation into alleged war crimes, ideally led by the United Nations. The government’s critics say an ongoing federal probe simply isn’t enough because the government can’t effectively investigate itself.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman in Geneva for U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, said Ethiopia’s Human Rights Commission had asked to participate with her office in “a joint investigation into allegations of serious human rights violations by all sides” in Tigray.

“We have responded positively to that request, and are currently elaborating plans for this joint investigation,” Colville said in an e-mail.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier in March that some atrocities in Tigray amount to “ethnic cleansing.”

Eritrean troops as well as fighters from Amhara, an Ethiopian region bordering Tigray, “need to come out” of Tigray, Blinken said, adding that the region needs “a force that will not abuse the human rights of the people of Tigray or commit acts of ethnic cleansing, which we’ve seen in western Tigray. That has to stop.”

Ethiopia’s government, which strongly denies civilians are deliberately targeted, called Blinken’s assertion unfounded.

President Joe Biden is dispatching Sen. Chris Coons to Ethiopia to express the administration’s “grave concerns” about the growing humanitarian crisis and human rights abuses in Tigray, and the risk of broader instability in the Horn of Africa, Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, said in a statement Thursday.

The statement said Coons will also discuss the situation with African Union leaders but gave no details about Coons’ travel.

The humanitarian situation in Tigray remains “extremely concerning, with conflict continuing to drive displacements of people and reports of some villages completely emptied,” according to the latest U.N. humanitarian assessment.

Humanitarian officials have warned that a growing number of people might be starving to death in Tigray. The fighting erupted on the brink of harvest in the largely agricultural region and sent an untold number of people fleeing their homes. Witnesses have described widespread looting by Eritrean soldiers as well as the burning of crops.


Associated Press writer Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed to this report.


1 thought on “Critical Ethiopian diplomat urges peace talks in Tigray war

  1. ካሁኅ በኋላ የሚደረገዉ እርቅ ይበልጡን ለአማራ ልሂቃን እና ለሕዝባቸዉ ነዉ የሚጠቅመዉ፥በተለያዩ ከተሞች ተሰባጥረዉ ከተለያዩ ሕብረ ብሔራት ጋር የሚኖሩ ወገኖቻችንን ሳንረሳ፥
    በገንዘብ ፥በሀብት ንብረት ሊተመን ቀርቶ አእምሮ ያለዉ ሰብአዊ ፍጡር ሊያነፃፅረዉ የማይችል ፖለቲካ አቋም ይቅርና ግንዛቤ የሌላቸዉ የንፁሓን ሕፃናት ሕይዎት ተቀጥፎ በከንቱ ያለ ምክንያት ሲጨፈጨፉ እየታየ ከ ፬ ወራት በላይ በዝምታ ተቆይቷል ግን ለምን ይሄ ሁሉ ግፍ በንፁሓን ላይ፧ ለፖለቲካ ትርፍ፧በሥልጣን ለመቆየት፧ ሕዝብን በሰቆቃ ገርፎ፥በወገኖቹ ሞት አገርሞ ለማንበርከክ፧ህልሙ የጠፋበት የዘመናችን ናቡከደነፆር፥አብይንበሥልጣኑ ማቆየት በንፁሓን ደም በሚሳለቁ ፥ነፍሰገዳዮችን መርቀዉ፥ገንዘባቸዉንና ደማቸዉን ለግሰዉ በሸኙ የፖለቲካ ልሂቃኑን ና ወገኖቻቸዉን ከወያኔ ነፃ አዉጥቶ ለአሃዳዉያኑ ሥርወ መንግሥት ምርኮ ማስቀረት ፥
    ይሄ ሁሉ እልቂት ወያኔ በፈጠረዉ፥ትቶት በሄደዉ የዘር ፖለቲካ ዉ ይሉናል ፧፧ እንዴት ነዉ አንድ ሀገር ፺፱ ሕብረብሔራትን እንደ አናሳና ባይተዋር ቆጥራ በአንድ ጎሣ የበላይነት የምትመራዉ ፧ አንድ ጎሣአማራ) ፥አንድ ሃይማኖት (ኦርቶዶክስ)አንድ ቋንቋ(አማርኛ)የሚል ፈሊጥ ከወዴት ተገኘ ፧ከቀድሞዉ የአጤ ምኒሊክ ፍርድ ዉስጥ እንደ ሕገመንግሥቱ በአስተርጉማችሁት ነዉ፧ የሰለጠነዉ አለም የሚኖሩት ነጮቹ ከሁለት ቋንቋዎች በላይ የሥራ ቋንቋ አድርገዉ ሲጠቀሙ ይስተዋላሉ፥ከሰማንያ ብሔራት ያላት የናንተዋ ኢትዮጵያማ እንዴት ይሄን ሁሉ ወገን በአንድ ብሔር ጨፍልቃ በእንድ ብሔር አንባገነንነት እስከመቼ ትኑር፥ፖለቲካ ማዉራት መናገር እያላቹህ ዙዎችን ለእውነት እንዳይቆሙ የእናንተን የዘር ፍጅት አላማ እንዳያጋልጡ፥አንዳይታገሉ ታስተባብላላቹ፥የናንተ ሀሰት ሰይጣናዊ ታክቲክ (መላ)መዛዘሚያ የለዉም፥ሀይማኖት ተከታይም ሆነ ለአቅመ አዳም ያልደረሱ ሕፃናት አገሪቷ የምትከተለዉ የፖለቲካ ርዕዮተ አለም በሉት አመለካከት ወይም አጀንዳ ወደዱትም ጠሉትም አንደ ፖለቲካ አጀንዳ መልክ አዎንታዊ ሆነ አሉታዊ ተፅዕኖ ያርፍባቸዋል፥ስለሆነም እያንዳንዱ ዜጋ ከተቻለ አቅሙ በሚፈቅደዉ ለርሱ ይጠቅሙኛል የሚላቸዉን መሪዎች የመምረጥ መብቱ ሰብአዊ ና አምላካዊ ነዉ፥ሕዝብ በሕዝብ ላይ አስነስቶ፥አድማና የሽምቅ ሴራ ሸርቦ ንፁሓንንም ሆነ የተለየ የፖለቲካ አቋም ያላቸዉን ፖለቲከችን ስለ ማስገደል አንደግም ያነሳሳንም የለም፥ትግራዋይነት እንደ ትልቅ የሀገር ክደት ተቆጥሮ አይሰጡ ስም ሰጥጦ፥ወገናችን ሲያልቅ ዝም ብለን አናይም ፥አይደለም በትግራዋይ በእናንተዉ ሕዝብ ላይም ቢሆን ፥የሕዝባቹህን እልቂት በመገናኛ ብዙሃን ለዓለም ያሳወቁ የትግራይ አክቲቪስቶች አሉ፥፥
    በቀድሞዉ የደርግ ሥርዓት የፖለቲካ ሥርዓተ ትምህርት ትልቁ ወንጀል የሀገር ክህደት ነዉ ተብሎ ተነግሮን ነበር አሁን ሁኜ ትግራዋይነት ትልቁ የሀገር ክደት እንደሆነ በተግባር አየሁት በጣም እጅጉን ያሳዝናል፥

    ትግራዋይ ልጆቹን ገብሮ ከደርግ ታድጎህ፥በሲቪል ሰርቪስ ምሆነ በሌሎች የትምህርት ተቅዋማት አስተምሮ ለተለያየ ሥልጣንና ሃላፊነት አብቅቶህ፥በቁጠባና በገንዘብ ዉሰት ያንተና የቤተሰብህን ኑሮ ቀይሮ፥በወያኔ የሥልጣን ዘመን ከቤተመንግት አንስቶ እስከ ቀበሌ ባሉት የመግሥት መሥሪያቤቶች በሕብረብሔርና በራስ ገዝ ሥልጥንን አካፍሎና አድሎህ አሁን ላይ ኢትዮጵያዊ እንደ ደመነፍስእንሰሳ ከዳተኛ ሆንክ፥
    ወያኔ ይግዛም አይግዛም ከ፹ በላይ ይሁን ከ፲ በላይ ብሔራት በአንድ ብሔር በአማራ ሊገዛ አይችልም መሆንም የለበትም ከሌላው ጋር ሲነፃፀርም በቁጥር ያነሰ ነዉ፥አገዉን፥ቅማንትን፥ሺናሻ፥ወይጦን አማራ ነህ እያሉ በመጨፍጨፍ የቁጥር ሆነ የሥልጥን የበላይነትን የምናረጋግጥበት ጊዜ አለፈ፥አቅምን አዉቆ መኖር ጥሩ ነዉ ታላቅም ችሎታ ነዉ፥
    Wedi hintalo -ፋን ኦፍ ዓርዓዶም (ሳኒይታዘር-Gech )

    Tigray will emerge victorious as its predators turned to become a prey, sadly speaking .We always smpathize with you all!

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