Obasanjo issues brief on Tigray crisis after meeting TDF leaders

ETHIOPIA CRISIS: Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael, AU Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Olesegun Obasanjo and Getachew Reda, head of External Affairs Office during a meeting in Mekelle. Image: GETACHEW REDA/ TWITTER

ADDIS ABABA - The Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo says he's optimistic that the conflict in Ethiopia will be solved amicably, noting that he has made significant steps towards holding joint meetings with the aggrieved parties.

For almost a week, Obasanjo, who is the Africa Union special envoy to the Horn of Africa, met with Tigray leaders and the authorities in Addis Ababa, in a mission aimed at establishing facts about the year-long conflict.

In a statement, Obasanjo said he held fruitful meetings with Afar, Amhara, and Oromia leaders, adding that he also met the presidents of Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, and Djibouti over the crisis in Ethiopia.

"In addition, I have had encouraging meetings with the leaders of Oromia and Amhara regions while I have scheduled to meet with the leadership of Afar region upon my return to Ethiopia. I have also met with leaders across the region including the Presidents of Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, South Sudan, Somalia, and the leadership of Sudan," he said.

"I am optimistic that common ground towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict can be secured. The interlocutors I have engaged on all sides have stated their wish for peace, security, and stability in Ethiopia. The main point of difference between the actors is in the means by which they seek to achieve this essential objective."

The former leader added that the only way to restore peace in Ethiopia is to bring together the two parties which have been in conflict for several months. He insisted that the two parties can still end the conflict through reconciliation.

"War represents a failure of politics. Thus dialogue remains the only reliable and sustainable avenue to peace. There is no military solution to the conflict and battlefield victory cannot guarantee political stability in Ethiopia," Obasanjo said.

"I, therefore, appeal to the leadership of all sides to halt their military offensives. This will allow an opportunity for dialogue to continue to progress. Such talks cannot deliver in an environment of escalated military hostilities."

The former Head of State asked African leaders to raise their voices over the conflict, adding that there is a need to help Ethiopians from a possible breakup that could mess up with existing institutions.

Obasanjo further said he's dedicated to ensuring peace and stability is achieved in the Horn of Africa nation. Last week, his efforts were commended by the United States through Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"I further call on all people of goodwill and leaders in Africa and the international community to continue to support our mediation efforts and to refrain from actions or rhetoric that will, wittingly or unwittingly, worsen the conflict," he said.

"I, too, remain dedicated to the cause of peace, and we will continue to work towards this goal, without which human security and development cannot be achieved."


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