Mekelle, Ethiopia, August 2, 2022– The respective European Union (EU) and U.S. Special Envoys for the Horn of Africa, H.E. Annette Weber and H.E. Mike Hammer traveled on their first joint mission to Mekelle, Tigray, to encourage the launch of talks between the Federal Government of Ethiopia (FGoE) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) under the African Union’s auspices.
Political dialogue is necessary to resolve the conflict in northern Ethiopia and achieve a durable peace. The Envoys welcomed the public commitment by both parties to engage in talks and expressed their readiness to support African-led mediation.
The Envoys agree that a swift restoration of electricity, telecom, banking, and other basic services in Tigray is essential for the people of Tigray, as recognized in earlier discussions with the Ethiopian Government. Tigray Regional President Debretsion provided the international community a letter to be passed to the Government of Ethiopia providing security guarantees for those who need to work to restore services. With this security assurance, there should be no obstacle for the restoration of services to begin.
Equally, unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray and the Afar and Amhara neighboring regions affected by the conflict is imperative, accompanied by the lifting of restrictions on cash, fuel, and fertilizers. Improved civilian-military coordination will help ensure effective and transparent aid distribution. Furthermore, the EU and U.S. are committed to providing assistance to all communities in need in Ethiopia, including those affected by drought and food insecurity.
Accountability is a key foundation for reconciliation. In this vein, the Envoys urged cooperation with, and access to the conflict areas for, the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) to enable them to conduct a credible investigation.
The Envoys furthermore appealed to all sides of the conflict to refrain from hate speech and provocative rhetoric.