EU contemplates delisting TPLF as terrorist group
ADDIS ABABA - The European Union [EU] is weighing on possibilities of delisting the Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] otherwise known as Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] from the list of terrorist groups in Ethiopia.
EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa Annette Weber told the media on Friday that “there are discussions right now” regarding the designation of terrorism or the delisting of the Tigray People Liberation Front from terrorist designation and that “there is a possibility for delisting.”
“Regarding the designation of terrorism or the delisting, there are discussions right now, that there is a possibility – of course, it goes through the parliament – there is a possibility for delisting. And of course, after delisting [is] engagement with the TPLF because that is necessary if there is an agreement on the cessation of hostility and ceasefire,” Annette said.
The group has been designated by the Ethiopian government as a terror group, a move which it has disputed, arguing that it's protecting the people of Tigray from aggression waged by the Ethiopian government, which has been at loggerheads with the group.
According to her, a recent conversation with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made huge indications that “there is a path towards peace” in Ethiopia, which has been in shambles for the last 13 months in the country.
“Speaking to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed yesterday, my sense is that, what we have seen in the last couple of weeks, the changes…release of political prisoners, stopping the advance by the ENDF towards Tigray, releasing people, mainly Tigrayans…I think there is a path that is clearly towards peace and he did speak about this.”
On her discussions with Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU High Representative on the Horn of Africa, she said: “he is cautiously optimistic; he was saying all the sides do understand that the next step has to be peace, that they have to go for cessation of hostilities, that they have to build upon getting into a ceasefire.”
Mr. Obasanjo briefed the African Union Peace and Security Committee where he noted that there is hope for dialogue between the two parties. Obasanjo further asked the two sides to allow easy access to affected is by the humanitarian teams.
Ethiopia's House of People designated TPLF as a terror group along with Oromo Liberation Front [OLA] in May 2020, just six months before fighting between TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] broke out.
The Parliament’s decision followed a decision on May 01 by the Council of Ministers which approved the resolution to designate the groups as terrorist organizations. The decision has further compounded possibilities of peace talks to end the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia.
The international community has been asking the Ethiopian government to lift the terrorist designations in order to pave the way for a peaceful resolution of Ethiopia’s 15-month civil war.
During the UNSC open briefing on Tigray held on August 26 last year, SC member states commonly known as A-3+1 said Ethiopia’s incoming parliament “should prepare to lift” terrorist designation of “armed actors” to allow for direct contact and negotiation with armed actors opposing the government, Addis Standard reports.