Tigray official defends peace deal amid criticism

 A senior member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has defended his decision to sign a peace pact with the Ethiopian government aimed at ending the devastating war in the northern Tigray region.

Getachew Reda’s comments came after heavy criticism of the deal he signed with the federal government in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, on November 2, following talks bro­kered by the African Union (AU).

In a statement at the weekend, the TPLF’s top leadership body, the central committee, said it did not send “any representative to South Africa to sign a peace agreement, nor is there any TPLF army”.

Many TPLF leaders felt that Mr Getachew should have signed the deal on behalf of the Tigray regional government, but Mr Getcahew said the federal government had refused to agree to this.

“We didn’t want to reject the peace and aid needed by the people of Tigray because they didn’t accept our name,” he said.

“They said: ‘We don’t know the government of Tigray. We will call you TPLF.’ We need peace. In this regard the African Union and others know that we have been arguing to be called as the government of Tigray because we have been elected by the people. But the [Ethiopian] law doesn’t recognise us,” he added.

Some Tigrayans have welcomed the deal, but others, at home and abroad, have accused TPLF leaders of selling out the community.

TPLF negotiators also agreed to the disarmament of Tigrayan forces, and giving the Ethiopian military control over security in the region, despite the fact that it has been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.

Critics of the deal are outraged, saying the TPLF had no authority to disarm fighters who are in the Tigray Defence Forces, which they see as an “army” and “a public institution that protects the people of Tigray” .—BBC

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