Note: Since the capture of Mekelle by the TDF, the Tigray government has issued two statements, one on 4 July and the other on 27 July, laying out its preconditions for a negotiated ceasefire.. We publish both of them below.
27 July Current position of the Government of Tigray regarding a Negotiated Ceasefire
Abiy Ahmed has committed the act of treason by colluding with foreign forces to commit genocide on the people of Tigray. His genocidal war campaign against Tigray has caused untold suffering on the people of Tigray and has thrown the country into an even deeper political turmoil and economic crisis. Following the military defeat of his divisions in Tigray and subsequent annihilation of the federal military forces in engagements in Amhara and Afar regions, Abiy has chosen to escalate the conflict by fanning ethnic animosity in the hope of completing his genocidal designs on the people of Tigray. The Government of Tigray has repeatedly shown its willingness and preference for a peaceful resolution to this conflict. It should also be clear that it is able and ready to defend the peace and security of the people of Tigray. The Government of Tigray recognizes the fast changing political and military developments and their ramifications for the peace and security of the country and has found it necessary to amend the previous preconditions for a negotiated ceasefire.
- It has become increasingly obvious that the current regime has neither the legitimacy and the constitutional mandate nor the wherewithal to govern the country. In light of this we are calling for the commencement of a transitional arrangement and an inclusive political process that Includes the major political actors in the country with a view to addressing the current political and constitutional problems afflicting the country.
- The Government of Tigray once again reiterates its demand for an internationally verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from Tigray and assures the return of status quo ante.
Moreover, the government of Tigray would like to reiterate the following preconditions for any talks to discuss a negotiated ceasefire:
- All discontinued essential services to Tigray including; electricity, telecommunication, banking services, all forms of transport, health services and commerce should resume with immediate effect. All forms of blockade on media should cease immediately;
- Immediately release the budget for the year 2013 and 2014 Ethiopian calendar;
- The establishment of multiple humanitarian corridors that allows for the provision of humanitarian assistance in all forms of transport to those most in need;
- The release of all political prisoners detained on the basis of their identity; including members of ENDF, public servants, and Tigrayans from all walks of life;
- The immediate cessation of mass detention of Tigrayansthat is going on at a frightening scale all over Ethiopia, closing of businesses and freedom of movement for all Tigrayans living across Ethiopia and the immediate halting of genocidal media campaigns and venomous rhetoric of officials, against Tigrayans;
- Acceptance of these terms as a precondition for talks about a negotiated ceasefire should be preceded by the implementation of the terms enumerated from 1 through to 5 and should be made public through international and national media outlets.
4 July Conditions for a negotiated Ceasefire
Since the fascistic clique spearheaded by Abiy Ahmed, in an unprecedented collaboration with foreign and domestic invading forces, has been waging a genocidal campaign to exterminate the people of Tigray, we find ourselves determined and having to shed blood in order to secure our survival as a people. Moreover, the Tigrayan Army has been registering one splendid victory after another and is now in control of the capital city of Tigray, Mekelle, and most administrative areas in Tigray. Nevertheless, after its forces were routed in a series of decisive battles and forced to flee in disarray, the fascistic dique of Abiy Ahmed is, true to form, trying to hoodwink the international community into thinking that it is an agent of peace by its apparent declaration of a unilateral ceasefire, ostensibly to allow farmers to engage in farming as well as to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Since the people and Government of Tigray consider peace to be an existential issue, our position with regards to peace talks is quite obvious. Accordingly, the people and Government of Tigray are always ready to resolve the challenges facing us through peaceful means. Indeed, it was Abiy Ahmed, who, after closing all peaceful avenues, initiated this bloody war to exterminate the people of Tigray, and one in which we were forced to participate to ensure our survival; war was not our first option and it never is. Because it is imperative that humanitarian organizations be able to operate freely to fulfil their mission, we would like to let all concerned parties know that the Government of Tigray is willing and able to extend our unreserved support and collaboration in order to create a favourable environment in which Tegarus in need are able to secure sufficient aid. Furthermore, so long as we obtain an ironclad guarantee that the security of our people will not be jeopardized again by a second round of invasions, we accept a ceasefire in principle. Nevertheless, before a ceasefire agreement is formalized, the following thorny problems must be resolved:
- Invading forces from Amhara and Eritrea must withdraw from Tigray and return to their pre-war territories; members of the Eritrean security, intelligence and defense establishment currently in Ethiopia must leave the country immediately and without any delay; any contacts, be it domestic or foreign, that bear directly on the national interests of Tigray must go through the legitimate and legal Government of Tigray; the resolution of issues related to Tigray and Eritrea must be predicated on dialogue with the Government of Tigray alone;
- The people of Tigray have been subjected to horrific crimes virtually impossible to imagine taking place in this day and age, such as genocide and ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the use of hunger as a fundamental instrument of war, and horrific gender-based violence. Given the Ethiopian government’s infliction of incalculable damage on Tigray and its people, and Eritrea’s invasions of Tigray and consequent damage, proceedings to hold Abiy Ahmed and Issais Afeworki accountable in direct proportion to the severity and magnitude of the damage they have inflicted on Tigray and the despicable crimes committed against the people of Tigray must be put into motion; to that end, it is imperative that there be an agreement on the need for the United Nations to establish an independent investigative body, and, once that body is established, on the need to put in place proper mechanisms for bringing criminals to the International Criminal Court;
- Allow the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Tigray from all directions using all necessary modes of transport; facilitate the return of all Tigrayans, internally displaced and refugees, to their homes as well as ensure the return of civilians brought in by the invading forces to their previous homes; create propitious conditions for the repatriation of governmental, and private properties looted from Tigray without any form of delay; create conditions in which full compensation for the damage inflicted on Tigray, such as the destruction of basic infrastructures, and service-providing socio economic institutions is secured without any delay. The Government of Tigray is committed to extending its unreserved support to those who engage in the delivery of humanitarian support, such as by providing security guarantees and ensuring their personal safety.
- The people of Tigray must have full access to all forms of services, such as electricity, telecommunications, banking, air travel, education, healthcare, transportation, commerce etc. without interruption and any form of hindrance; allow the operation of international flights directly from airports in Tigray without any preconditions;
- Respect the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and accept the fact that the constitution is the sole basis for any negotiations going forward; enable the democratically elected Government of Tigray, with all its powers, and constitutional responsibilities, to resume its regular work; release the budget transfer that the people of Tigray were constitutionally and legally entitled to receive in 2013 [2020-21 budget year]; no members of the defense forces, federal police, security and intelligence institutions will be allowed to enter and operate in Tigray;
- Given the expiration of the legal mandate of the federal government as of September 25, 2013 (EC), subsequent decisions by the federal parliament (the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of Federation), federal courts, any proclamations, directives, decisions, issued by entities at all levels of the executive branch, and judicial and administrative decisions aimed at the State of Tigray and Tigrayans lack legal force, and, as such, should be considered null and void; relatedly, Tigrayan politicians and members of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces [ENDF], who are languishing in jail solely on account of their identity must be released from their illegal detention without delay; current and former Tigrayan members of the ENDF in detention must be released, with all the benefits they are legally entitled to fully restored. Tigrayans illegally expelled from the Addis Ababa City Administration as well as from all federal institutions on account of their identity must get all the benefits that they are legally entitled to. All other Ethiopians who are in jail solely on account of their identity must also be released without delay.
- The Government of Tigray considers the creation of an independent international entity entrusted with the task of following up on the implementation of these preconditions for a ceasefire to be a non-negotiable element of the ceasefire itself.
This statement has been issued so that a ceasefire agreement can be secured through dialogue. Finally, since most parts of Tigray are under the effective control of the Government of Tigray, we invite diplomats and journalists who wish to follow developments and objective conditions in Tigray up close to visit; we will provide all necessary support so you can do your job freely.