African Diplomacy, Backed by China, Brings Peace to Ethiopia
The policy of African solutions for Africa problems, fully supported by China, has put an end to the bitter civil war between the Ethiopian central government and the ruling Prosperity Party on the one side, and the regional state of Tigray and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on the other. As for the United States and the European Union, they played only a peripheral, if any, role in the process. The conflict was resolved through the African Union-sponsored negotiation that culminated in the Pretoria Agreement, which began last November with a ceasefire, followed by a peaceful agreement to fully normalize relations between the Tigray region and the central government.
On April 23, Ethiopia celebrated the conclusion of this agreement under the theme “Enough with War — Let’s Celebrate Peace.” Organized by the Ethiopian government, its aim was to give recognition to all those involved in making the agreement a reality, including Naledi Pandor (South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister), Olusegun Obasanjo (former Nigerian President and AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa), Uhuru Kenyatta (former President of Kenya), Moussa Faki Mahamat (Chairperson of the African Union Commission), and Workneh Gebeyehu (Executive Secretary of IGAD). In addition to Ethiopian officials, China’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs Xue Bing also attended the celebration.
In their speeches, Naledi Pandor, Uhuru Kenyatta, and Olesegun Obasanjo praised the peace process as an epitome of the principle of finding African solutions to the continent’s conflicts. Xue Bing briefly elaborated on why the peace was won, saying it was “a victory for unity and dialogue”. In light of the international conflic in neighboring Sudan, it is significant that Xue called the Ethiopian peace process a fine example for other regions to solve internal disputes by peaceful means. It is also a victory for African autonomy, he added, and should provide important guidance for the international community’s constructive participation in Africa’s peace and security affairs.
After being named China’s Special Envoy for the region in February of 2022, Xue made official visits to all the countries involved to put forward China’s “Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa Policy”, which led to the first Horn of Africa Peace Conference on June 23, 2022 in Addis Ababa, hosted by the Ethiopian government. It was shortly after this conference that the Ethiopia conflict began moving towards a resolution.
Many of the most important articles of the agreement have now been implemented, including the release of imprisoned Tigray leaders. Ethiopian troops have withdrawn from Tigray and the administration has been turned over to the local TLF authorities. The only problem remains with neighboring Eritrea, which has not withdrawn from certain areas in Tigray, which it had occupied during the conflict.