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Museveni urges warring factions in Ethiopia to negotiate peace

President Museveni and state ministers

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called on the government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia headed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to negotiate with the Tigray regional government in order to restore peace in Ethiopia. 

Speaking today at Gulu State Lodge to a delegation headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, the Ugandan president said, its only through talks that the two sides will be able to find a solution to the issues that caused the altercation now in its second week.   

Museveni noted that it was wrong for African countries to focus on the politics of ethnicity federalism other than interest. He said that it was only oneness and focusing on the common interests of the people in Africa could bring about prosperity.  

“The problem in Africa is that we never discuss ideology but rather focus on diplomacy. We must watch out for our ideological mistakes. If we keep making them, the end results might be severe. Emphasis must be put on oneness and common interest,” said Museveni  in a press statement issued by his office this afternoon.   

According to reports, thousands of Ethiopian refugees have continued pouring into Sudan, escaping a worsening conflict that has spilled over Ethiopia’s borders and now threatening to destabilize the wider Horn of Africa region. The United Nations Commission for Refugees said on Sunday that more than 20,000 people have crossed into Sudan from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where federal government troops are battling forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party of the regional government. 

Sudanese state media put the number of refugees at almost 25,000. This figure is expected to rise to as many as 200,000 refugees in the coming few weeks if the conflict rages on. There are already allegations of massive massacres of civilians which some human right agencies have equated to crimes against humanity. 

Abiy Ahmed, who has been the Ethiopian Prime Minister since April 2018, had been credited for trying to reform the country that has a history of repressive regimes. Although he is generally regarded as a man of peace, the very reason he won the noble peace prize of 2020, he has vowed to continue his offensive until the Tigray Forces stand down.       

But Museveni advised that, immediate negotiations must come into place to see to it that the war is not prolonged as it might lead to massive loss of lives and the dwindling of the economy. 

He added that, because Ethiopia was one of the oldest countries in Africa which was never colonized, it had an image to protect since it represents the whole of Africa. For his part, Demeke noted that despite the current situation, the Ethiopian government’s immediate plan was to ensure that the lives of the civilians are protected.

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