Remarks by HE Olusegun Obasanjo, High Representative of the AU Chairperson for the Horn of Africa, on the occasion of the Signing of the Peace Agreement between the Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), Pretoria, South Africa, on 2 November 2022
My dear brother and former President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta,
My dear sister and former Deputy President of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,
Representatives of our gracious host, the Government, and the people of South Africa,
Representatives of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia,
Representatives of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front and the people of the Tigray Region,
Our distinguished partners and observers in this process; the United Nations, IGAD, and the United States,
Esteemed colleagues from the African Union,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today marks two years – less than two days – since violence and war broke out in the Northern Ethiopian region of Tigray. Over this period, the African Union has been persistent in seeking ways and means of bringing about peace, security, and stability, in Ethiopia and ensuring that the development and progress of Ethiopia as a wholesome and an inclusive society would not be truncated.
Fourteen months ago, the AU Commission Chairperson, Amb. Moussa Faki Mahamat, appointed me as High Representative for the Horn of Africa to promote peace, security and stability. Over the last fourteen months, I consulted regional leaders and stakeholders within Ethiopia, within other IGAD member states, within Africa and with development partners outside Africa. In Ethiopia itself, I visited some regions several times while I visited the Tigray region eight times.
Only last month, and for the purpose of the exercise that has brought us here, the Chairperson of the AU Commission appointed former President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, to join me in moving the process forward.
Today is the beginning of a new dawn for Ethiopia, for the Horn of Africa and indeed for Africa as a whole. Let me hasten to thank God for this new dawn. We are seeing in practice and actualisation what we have tried to achieve for ourselves over the years – African solutions for African problems. We also see in today’s peace agreement signing exercise the implementation of Agenda 2063 which embodies silencing the guns in Africa.
The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as to systematic, orderly, smooth, and coordinated disarmament, restoration of law and order, restoration of services, unhindered access to humanitarian supplies, protection of civilians especially women, children, and other vulnerable groups, among other areas of agreement. The agreement also takes care of assurance of security for all concerned within and outside Ethiopia.
For what you have achieved working together among yourselves, we salute you, we commend you and we congratulate you.
Let me say for us as facilitators, this moment is not the end of the peace process but the beginning of it. Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is critical to the success of the process.
On behalf of the AU, the panel members, the delegates, the observers, and the experts that we have around, I express our deep appreciation to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Government of South Africa for being a wonderful host and for such a splendid arrangement made for the success of these talks.
The three observers here; the UN, the IGAD and the US as well as others who are not represented here are all very much appreciated. In this regard, we particularly thank the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Union (EU) for their financial support and the United Nations for their logistical support over the last fourteen months.
I must not forget to thank the staff of the African Union Commission, particularly those in the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security led by the Commissioner, Amb. Bankole Adeoye, with the invaluable support of Director Sarjoh Bah, for their commitment and dedication to duty.
Let me emphasise that the eyes of the world will now shift from the talks to the implementation. The leaders of both sides have supported the delegates to achieve what has been achieved.
Finally, let me once again congratulate all the delegates. Well done! You have made all Ethiopians at home and abroad winners in this agreement. Please positively move on, move up and move forward leaving the past behind. Ethiopia is a great nation and shall continue to be a great nation and pride to all Africans.
Thank you and God bless you.