Ethiopian PM Says the Hand Stretched for Peace Not Yielding Results
“To teach the Ethiopian government about peace is like to teach fish how to swim or a bird how to fly,” Abiy Ahmed said in his Meskel Holiday message
In this undated picture, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is posing for picture in his office. (source: Abiy Ahmed FB page)
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday conveyed a message on the occasion of the Meskel Holiday. It has now been customary for the Prime Minister to convey long messages on the occasions of religious holidays (Christian, Islamic or for the Oromo Waqe Fena religious tradition.)
In his message today, he highlighted what his government has achieved in project execution, including in the third filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and the reversal of, as he thinks, the drought situation and economic challenges.
Setups attempted to weaken Ethiopia (unspecified but implied that from external forces) to weaken Ethiopia and put the country in “darkness,” as he put it, is reversed.
He also seized the occasion to talk about the war – without revealing the state of the war and without mentioning the warring Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) by name.
The message appears to be not only to Ethiopians but also to powers attempting to interfere in Ethiopian affairs by branding themselves as mediators while tacitly emboldening the TPLF.
While maintaining a pacifist tone, the core of his message seems to reject pressure on Ethiopia and rhetoric about the importance of peace.
He said that the Ethiopian government has done more than its share to ensure that the conflict is resolved peacefully. In that direction, he went further to the extent of demonstrating the circumstances under which the TPLF (again he did not call it by name) launched the third round of invasion and attacks against Ethiopian forces.
“Our patience was mistaken for fear; our pursuit of peace was regarded as weakness and the third round of attack was opened against us,” he added.
The Ethiopian government has paid the ultimate price for peace and no one has paid like the government of Ethiopia. However, he added, our effort for peace is not given due credit and the other party’s belligerence is not condemned as much as it should.
In what appears to be a response to rhetoric by western powers, he said “to teach the Ethiopian government about the importance of peace is like to teach a fish how to swim or a bird how to fly.”
We are forced to embark on defence to ensure that Ethiopia’s existence is not ended, the disintegration of its people not happening and our children and grandchildren inherit a sovereign Ethiopia.
He described the response after the failure of the peace initiative as an “effort to discharge historical responsibility and defend [Ethiopia’s] national interest.”
Because the hand we stretched for peace is not yielding results, it is forced to hold a spear.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also expressed optimism that the struggle this year will resolve Ethiopia’s challenges once and for all.
It has been well over a month since the TPLF started the third round of war against Ethiopia on alleged grounds of breaking the siege.
Although the TPLF has been claiming victories on multiple fronts, there are no clear signs of making military advances on all war fronts.
The Ethiopian government is not revealing the state of the war too. Not much is known as to what is gained and what is lost militarily.