Partiality of African Union-appointed special envoy disqualifies him as mediator in the Ethiopian Civil War
SJT Press release
Tigrai Online 8/23/2022
Security and Justice for Tigrayans (SJT), a US-based Global Advocacy organization, is issuing this Press Release to inform the international community regarding the fundamental flaws of the peace talk arrangement aimed at ending the genocidal war in Ethiopia. More precisely, SJT is concerned that the African Union (AU) appointed mediator, Mr. Obasanjo, is not impartial and, thus, cannot be expected to lead this process fairly and squarely.
The Government of Tigray (GoT) and the international community have repeatedly stated that they believe that African problems should be solved by Africans. All believe that an impartial AU must play an important role in aspects that include maintaining Africa’s peace and security and in preventing and resolving conflicts through inclusive peace talks. For this to be effective and efficient, the AU should strictly remain adherent to its established regulations, rules, policies and procedures and employ fair, impartial, and capable African diplomats and political leaders who can successfully accomplish these tasks without compromise.
SJT has no doubt that there are many capable and experienced African diplomats and political leaders with strong leadership integrities and exceedingly dependable personalities. Unfortunately, Mr. Obasanjo is not one of them. In written statements and media interviews issued by AU, he has shown that he is not suited to lead the peace talks in the current civil war in Ethiopia. For example, he has stated openly that the position espoused by the Ethiopian government is the “correct one” that should be pursued until the peace talks are complete. These positions include maintaining the current siege on Tigray which is denying humanitarian aid to more than 4 million people currently suffering under a man-made famine. In effect, he is condoning the Government of Ethiopia’s use of hunger as a weapon of war—an act that is a clear and unambiguous war crime. How can an individual with such clear stance on one side—the Ethiopian government’s side—be expected to mediate for peace in Ethiopia? Yet another example that shows Mr. Obasanjo does not understand the politics of the situation at hand is this: he favors the involvement of Eritrea in the peace talks. Involving the Eritrean government that helped the Ethiopian government in committing unimaginable international crimes in the crisis is a clear intention to tip the balance against Tigray in favor of Ethiopia.
Mr. Obasanjo lacks empathy for the people of Ethiopian, especially the people of Tigray, who are currently suffering in total darkness. He does not appear to understand the politics fueling the problems that are at the heart of this conflict. He is not, and cannot be seen as, an honest, capable, and impartial broker of peace in the Horn of Africa. Africa is fortunate that it has many respected, humane, well-qualified and exemplar leaders that can lead the peace process between the governments of Ethiopia and the Tigray region. The US, UN, EU, AU and other concerned governments and agencies interested in lasting peace in the Horn of Africa should reject the plan that puts Mr. Obasanjo at the helm of these delicate and important peace talks. He has not been accepted by both sides, an important and basic tenets of negotiations.
Teka Neguse, PharmD
President, Security & Justice for Tigrayans (SJT)
Tel: 443-537-3910 Email: (email@example.com)
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