French, German Foreign Ministers Hail Ethiopian Peace Process

During a joint visit to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock welcomed the progress made in implementing the Ethiopian peace deal signed last year.

French, German Foreign Ministers Hail Ethiopian Peace Process
Image credit: AFP [via Voice of America]

Facts

  • During a joint visit to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock welcomed the progress made in implementing the Ethiopian peace deal signed last year.
  • Colonna and Baerbock arrived in Ethiopia a day after the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) reportedly agreed to surrender its heavy weapons - a critical element of the peace deal signed in the South African capital of Pretoria on Nov. 2.
  • Minister Colonna hailed the progress made in furthering services in Tigray, such as electric communications and banking, while Baerbock called for reconciliation and justice for war victims to enable a "lasting peace." Ethiopian Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen vowed that crimes would be punished.
  • Coming after the EU suspended budgetary support in Nov. 2020, both ministers called for accountability for alleged widespread human rights abuses, including "systematic sexualized violence" during the conflict, as a precondition for normalizing EU-Ethiopia relations.
  • Their two-day trip also includes a visit to the World Food Program (WFP) in Adama. They discussed the Sept. 2022 Franco-German initiative to provide 50K tons of grain donated by Ukraine to Ethiopia and Somalia.
  • The peace deal prompted a gradual resumption of aid deliveries and basic services in Tigray. It is estimated that between 385K and 600K civilians have died in Ethiopia as a result of conflict, hunger, disease, and lack of medical care since the war began over two years ago.

Sources: France24, Africa, Voa Africa, Hour, Diplomatie, and Voa.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Reporter Ethiopia. The peace deal is a major victory for Ethiopia, which has pursued a sovereign foreign policy independent of Washington and the West —especially given that it was the West that fueled the war against Ethiopia for selfish reasons and only changed its neocolonial course when the conflict threatened to spiral out of control. That France and Germany are now acting as "agents of peace" which is is nothing short of hypocrisy.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by DW. The West was rightly critical of the Ethiopian government during the war, especially in light of the numerous reports of human rights violations that ran counter to its values. Claims that the West supported the Tigrayan rebels with purely tactical motives are erroneous, as it was thanks to the EU's diplomatic efforts that a peace treaty was eventually signed. Given Russia's and China's increased meddling in the region, the West should now seize the opportunity to support Ethiopia on the path to sustainable peace and democracy.