Picture: Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo look on as Ethiopian government representative Redwan Hussein shakes hands with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) representative Getachew Reda after the signing of a peace agreement brokered by the AU.
By Chad Williams
The implementation of the recent Ethiopia ceasefire agreement is critical to its success, says Ambassador Welile Nhlapo, South Africa’s former ambassador to Ethiopia and permanent representative to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
South Africa’s former Ambassador to Ethiopia, Welile Nhlapo, says that the Tigray conflict, which has claimed the lives over half a million people and left millions more displaced, is one of the most devastating wars on this continent.
The Tigray war is an armed conflict that began on 3 November 2020 in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
The war was primarily being fought by the Ethiopian federal government and Eritrea on one side and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on the other.
Ambassador Nhlapo said given the scale of devastation that has happened, and the scale of the humanitarian crisis it has caused and the displacement of families scattered all over, the Tigray conflict is one of the worse wars on record on the continent.
“Africa’s peace and security architecture that is in place, can, and if properly and diligently applied, can be an answer to some of the challenges that we are faced with on the continent but also one of the things that we also have to take into consideration is governance issues because that’s where the problem starts.”
“If we are able to commit to the decisions and declarations that we have taken, as a continent and through the AU, then it will take us a step towards preventing some of these conflicts”.
You can watch the full interview here.
AU mediator and former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo said last week during a media briefing in Pretoria that this moment was not the end of the peace process.
Obasanjo was supported by former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and former deputy president of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Obasanjo said that “implementation of the peace agreement is critical for its success”, adding that this would be supervised and monitored by a high-level AU panel.
South Africa hosted the AU-led mediation. where closed talks were held for 10 days.
Mlambo-Ngcuka congratulated Ethiopians for taking much-needed steps forward towards peace by signing a cessation of hostilities agreement facilitated by the AU and hosted by South Africa.
Kenyatta said that the ultimate responsibility for the implementation of the agreement lies purely in the hands of the people of Ethiopia. He said that it is his hope that coming from Pretoria, all parties will go back and engage their local populations, engage their militias, engage all their different communities and begin this process of dialogue, a process the former leader of Kenya said, without doubt, will involve compromise and understanding.
Nhlapo served as South Africa’s Special Representative to the Great Lakes Region at the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Williams is a journalist with IOL and the African News Agency (ANA).