Peace process in Tigray: Baerbock travels to Ethiopia

Gut two months after a peace agreement in the civil war was signed between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Foreign Minister is traveling Annalena Bärbock (Greens) to Ethiopia. She will be accompanied on her visit to the capital Addis Ababa by France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. The two want to hold talks with representatives of the Ethiopian government and the African Union on Thursday and Friday, the main focus of which will be on the implementation of the peace process.

Christian Meier

Political correspondent for the Middle East and Northeast Africa.

It is estimated that around 500,000 people have died in the fighting in the north of the country since November 2020. The Ethiopian government had largely blocked the region for the past two years, shutting down electricity, telecommunications and air traffic.

From August last year, fierce fighting broke out again before the peace agreement was signed in South Africa in November, mediated by the African Union.

Among other things, the TPLF promised to disarm and hand power back to the government in Addis Ababa. The government pledged to lift the blockade in the region. However, there have been repeated tensions over the past few weeks with regard to the implementation of the agreement, and the situation is considered fragile.

Food crisis in the region

Only now has the government of the region tigray apparently started handing over heavy weapons to the Ethiopian army. Getachew Reda, the spokesman for the Tigrayan army, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the handover of the arms will hopefully “advance the full implementation of the agreement”.

According to the World Health Organization, around 90 percent of the people in the region do not have adequate access to food after the conflict. During their trip, the two foreign ministers are also concerned with assessing the supply situation in Ethiopia ensure. In Paris, reference is made to the delivery of 50,000 tons of wheat donated by Ukraine to Ethiopia and Somalia.

France and Germany have secured the financing of the transport with 14 million euros each. The deliveries should have arrived at the end of December, according to the French Foreign Ministry. In Paris it was said that the first joint trip by the two ministers to Ethiopia was a strong symbol of Franco-German cooperation in favor of Africa.

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