Ethiopia. A Nobel Peace Prize winner on the warpath

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Here is the Ethiopian government based in Addis Ababa on the warpath, and its prime minister on the front line. According to official media, Abiy Ahmed is now at the front to lead the “counter-offensive” of the federal army, while the rebels of the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF) are only 200 km from the capital. It is now Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who officially dispatches current affairs, a symbolic transfer of power designed to galvanize popular resistance, at a time when the civil conflict that began in November 2020 threatens to end. degenerate into all-out war. Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for easing tensions between his country and Eritrea, has continued to be recalled in recent weeks. The Prime Minister of the great economic, demographic (115 million inhabitants) and military power of the Horn of Africa urges his compatriots to “join the campaign of survival”, and figures of Ethiopian civil society, to the Like the marathon runner and Olympic medalist Feyisa Lilesa or the national icon and long-distance runner Haile Gebreselassie, they said they were ready to accompany Abiy Ahmed on the front line, even to commit “to death” to defend the capital.

The head of government sounds the alarm and the total mobilization to general consternation, both the two belligerents in presence, the federal army and that of the Tigray region, reinforced by a coalition of armed groups hostile to the policy of Abiy Ahmed, have little chance of making a lasting difference. There is no “military solution” in Ethiopia, insists the US State Department, calling on all parties to “restraint”. “Our goal is to support diplomacy as the first, last and only option,” a spokesperson said in Washington. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on an official visit to Colombia, launched on Wednesday evening an “urgent call” for an “immediate and unconditional ceasefire in order to save” the country, when most of the foreign delegations present in Addis Ababa, the historic headquarters of the African Union, have begun the evacuation of their nationals.

Positions firmly rejected by Abiy Ahmed’s cabinet, which notably accuse the United States of spreading false news on the security conditions in the country. “Previously they (the Americans) were disseminating information that Addis Ababa is surrounded (by rebels), now they are adding this false information that a terrorist attack will be carried out,” Kebede Desisa, a spokesman, said on Thursday. word of the government, as the State Department ordered the withdrawal of non-essential personnel from its embassy since November 5, due to “armed conflict, (of) civil unrest and (of) possible supply shortages” .

Other diplomats were forced to leave the country, including seven UN officials expelled on September 30 for alleged “interference”, or four Irish nationals in retaliation for “positions that (Dublin) has expressed internationally (… ) on the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia ”.

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