Toward a Peaceful Order in the Horn of Africa

By, Abiy Ahmed (written for https://www.project-syndicate.org)

Toward a Peaceful Order in the Horn of Africa

Operations undertaken by the Ethiopian federal government have freed the Tigrayan people from decades of misrule by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This has ignited new hopes, but also anxieties, about Ethiopia’s future and its role in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

The hopes stem from the removal – for good – of the corrupt and dictatorial TPLF. Ethiopians can now imagine a future based not on ethnic chauvinism, but on unity, equality, freedom, and democracy. Moreover, the source of ethnic division that had poisoned inter-state relations across the Horn of Africa has now been overcome.

But I cannot deny that the removal of the TPLF has fueled unease in the international community. Concerns about ethnic profiling in Tigray and obstacles to humanitarian relief abound. My government is determined to address and dispel these concerns.

So, to borrow from Thomas Jefferson,

“a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” compels me to explain why my government acted to restore peace in Tigray, how we are alleviating suffering there, and why our efforts – supported, I hope, by the international community – will benefit all my country’s people, including those in Tigray and throughout the Greater Horn.

No government can tolerate its soldiers and innocent civilians being ambushed and killed in their dozens, as happened at the hands of the TPLF last autumn.

My primary duty as prime minister and commander in chief of the national armed forces, after all, is to protect Ethiopia and its people from internal and external enemies.

Our operations in Tigray were designed to restore peace and order quickly. In this, we succeeded, but the suffering and deaths that occurred despite our best efforts have caused much distress for me personally as well as for all peace-loving people here and abroad.

Ending the suffering in Tigray and around the country is now my highest priority. This is why . . .

. . . I am calling for the United Nations and international relief agencies to work with my government so that we can, together, deliver effective relief to all in Tigray who need it.

Meanwhile, we are working, day and night, to deliver necessary supplies to our citizens in Tigray and to those in want in neighboring provinces, as well as to ensure that human rights are respected and normal lives restored. To succeed, many challenges must be overcome. For example, reconnecting communication lines deliberately destroyed by the TPLF is testing our capacity to deliver humanitarian aid. In this work of reconstruction, the international community can be of enormous help.

Abiy Ahmed News https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/toward-peaceful-order-horn-africa-abiy-ahmed-/

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