Addis Ababa — The Government of Ethiopia was left with no option but to take legitimate law enforcement measures to reverse the unwarranted attack by TPLF, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen said.
Demeke addressed the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday via a pre-recorded video message.
With the change and reform that opened a new chapter in Ethiopia's political and socio-economic dispensation three years ago, the nation has made significant strides but also faced complex challenges from the global pandemic to domestic political problems, he added.
He pointed out that the anti-reform acts and campaigns were spearheaded by Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which had dominated Ethiopian politics with brutal force for much of the past three decades but lost its power with the reform initiatives.
Despite TPLF's long history of abuses and corruption, the new reformist administration in Ethiopia opted for peaceful co-existence and moving forward than criminal prosecution except for grave human rights violations and grand scale corruption by some top TPLF members, he elaborated.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, however, stated that the new administration patiently sought all possible avenues for a peaceful resolution of the matter, including through several interlocutors even when TPLF and its acolytes launched both covert and public campaign as well as subversive efforts to derail the reform process.
TPLF rebuffed all these peace gestures; instead, it publicly escalated war rhetoric and public show of force, which ultimately culminated with a sudden and brazen military attack on the northern command of Ethiopian National Defense Forces stationed in the Tigray region, killing scores of the force members, and looting the armament, Demeke stated.
He noted "our priority currently is rehabilitation of affected areas of the Tigray Regional State, including delivering much needed humanitarian assistance, rebuilding damaged infrastructure, and resuming social services, establishing law and order, and restoring full peace and stability."
Several senior civilian and military leadership of TPLF have either been arrested or surrendered, Demeke said.
He further stated that TPLF leaders and accomplices who still launch sporadic fighting in small pockets of Tigray are given a chance to peacefully surrender otherwise, the federal security forces will continue to pay all the sacrifice to bring them to justice.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister stressed "we are mobilizing all the necessary efforts to provide urgent humanitarian response to people in dire need of assistance working closely with local and international partners."
According to him, emergency humanitarian assistance is being delivered in 36 Woredas of Tigray Region at 92 food distribution centers and reaching out two million beneficiaries in the region.
Allegations of human rights violations including sexual violence is no doubt a matter of big concern for my government, he said, adding "we are fully committed to undertaking the necessary investigation and ensuring full accountability of all perpetrators."
He reaffirmed that "hopes remain high of our reform agenda and we are determined to pursue it with all the necessary vigor and commitment despite the complicated challenges and the aforementioned setbacks."