Ethiopia: The Church Prays for Peace Talks

November 04, 2022
Tigray countryside

After two years of conflict between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray forces, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and the displacement of many people, representatives of the two parties met for the first time in Pretoria, South Africa, for peace talks.

The talks started on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 and were due to end on Sunday, October 30, 2022. The objective was to mediate the challenges of Africa's second most populous country and find a lasting solution to the conflict.

“The last two years have been tough. Many people lost their lives and their property and many were displaced. We hope that these peace talks will bring a breath of peace,” said Markos Ghebremedhin, the Apostolic Vicar of Jima Bonga.

“We pray and hope that the outcome of these talks will lead to the restoration of peace in the country so that we can build our nation,” he added.

The talks were mediated by the African Union, led by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, backed by former Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African Vice President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Finally, after two years of a terribly deadly conflict, the Ethiopian federal government and the rebel authorities of Tigray concluded, on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, an agreement of “cessation of hostilities” and “methodical disarmament.”

The agreement also provides for the “restoration of public order, services (in Tigray), unhindered access of humanitarian supplies, and protection of civilians, among others,” explained former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. “This moment is not the end of the peace process, but its beginning. The implementation of the peace agreement signed today is essential,” he warned.

Details of the terms of the agreement and its implementation have not been disclosed at this time. One of the sources of anxiety concerns Eritrea’s attitude, which is violently opposed to the Tigrayan leaders, and which supports the Ethiopian army.

This peace is welcome for all Tigrayans, and in particular for Catholics who have particularly suffered from this war, which has in notably claimed many victims among the clergy.