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Sunday, July 21, 2024

TPLF: Algiers or Pretoria Comes First?

Unveiling TPLF's Diplomatic Quandary: Prioritizing Algiers or Pretoria?

Recently, everyone has noticed that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leaders are longing for the immediate implementation of the Pretoria Agreement they signed with the Ethiopian Federal Government. On the contrary, the TPLF would never utter a word about the Algiers Agreement that it signed twenty-two years ago and blocked its implementation to this date. In fact, it often dares to request that, in line with the Pretoria Agreement, the Eritrean Army should remove itself from land that the Algiers Agreement and the internationally recognized Court of Justice based in The Hague, the Netherlands, determined as Eritrean. Such deceitful, dishonest, and contradictory behavior of the TPLF is a prime example of why lasting peace in the Horn of Africa has remained elusive. Looking at its history, only a fool can expect the TPLF to be on the right side of the law. Below, we describe the Algiers and Pretoria agreements to the readers and expose the double standard of the TPLF.

The Algiers Agreement

The Algiers Agreement was a peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, signed in December 2000 to formally end the border war that started in May 1998. The signing ceremony was attended by top officials from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and the African Union. The agreement created a boundary commission to demarcate the border and a claims commission to assess the damages caused by the war.

After hearing the arguments of the Ethiopian and Eritrean representatives, the Boundary Commission gave its final and binding verdict on April 13, 2002. Initially, Ethiopia claimed it got what it wanted and warned Eritrea to accept the ruling. However, Ethiopia later backtracked and rejected the binding and final boundary ruling. The late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, called the Boundary Commission’s decision unjust and an illegal ruling. Despite repeated warnings from the Boundary Commission, the late Prime Minister continued to resettle Tigrayans in Sovereign Eritrean Territories, and the demarcation of the border was blocked by Ethiopia. Tired of Ethiopia’s continuous obstructions of its work to put pillars on the ground, the Boundary Commission virtually demarcated the border and ended its mission. Consequently, a no-war, no-peace situation persisted between the two countries for 20 years.

In May 2018, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which held power in Ethiopia for 27 years, was pressured by the Amhara and Oromo youth revolt to leave power and return to Tigray. The Ethiopian government, under the leadership of the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, announced on June 5, 2018, that it fully accepted the terms of the Algiers Agreement and the subsequent verdict of the Boundary Commission. However, the withdrawal of the Ethiopian Army from areas recognized as Eritrean and subsequent demarcation of the border were again blocked by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The Pretoria Agreement

A culmination of two years of political tensions between the TPLF and the Ethiopian Federal Government, on November 3–4, 2020, forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) launched attacks on the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) Northern Command headquarters in Mekelle and bases in Adigrat, Agula, Dansha, and Sero in the Tigray Region, marking the beginning of the Tigray War. Also, the TPLF launched more than a dozen missile attacks on the world heritage site capital city of Eritrea, Asmara. The actions of the TPLF created a clear threat to the national security and sovereignty of Eritrea, and Eritrea supported the Federal Army in three rounds of its wars with the TPLF Army.

Following the devastating defeat that the TPLF sustained in the third round of the offensive launched by the Ethiopian Federal Army, supported by Eritrea, the TPLF and the Ethiopian Federal Government signed a peace agreement in Pretoria, South Africa. In the peace treaty between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that was signed on November 2, 2022, the parties agreed to cease hostilities and resolve their differences peacefully. Accordingly, the Eritrean Army withdrew from Tigray to the boundary line delimited and virtually demarcated by the Ethiopia and Eritrea Boundary Commission. Eritrea was not a party to the Pretoria agreement.

Algiers or Pretoria Agreement comes First?

Currently, it is not new, in every meeting, to hear TPLF leaders apologizing to their people that they learned from their mistakes and would get things right. Do they know that their cardinal mistake was to reject the final and binding Ethio-Eritrea boundary decision? If they do not correct such a big mistake, their claim that they learned from their mistake exposes their hypocrisy and dishonesty, to say the least. In fact, they have already reverted to the old worn-out tactic of antagonizing the Tigray people with their neighbors and forcing them to harbor a siege mentality. If the Tigray people keep following the TPLF’s destructive propaganda, it would be difficult for them to get themselves out of the current predicament. Suppressing an internationally recognized agreement can only help to prolong the war, destruction, and suffering. Given the 20 years of no war, no peace period and the last two years of war and destruction, the TPLF should have spoken loudly about the Algiers agreement that they held hostage for 22 years first. But the TPLF leaders are not normal people. If they were normal, they wouldn’t have ignited and continued war against forces that were well-equipped, experienced, and more in number that resulted in the loss of over a million young souls. For the TPLF, peace is a zero-sum game. Legal agreements and binding signatures are to be honored only if they fulfill the interests of the TPLF. Perhaps the greatest TPLF’s hallucination is its desire to see Eritrea withdraw from the land that the final and binding Algiers Agreement rightfully delineated well inside Eritrea. According to TPLF’s mindset, if its warning is not heeded, the Tigray people should be agitated using the false propaganda of Eritrean occupation of Tigray’s land, and war should continue in one form or another. The burning question is, can the Tigray people afford another war? Do they need to fight with Eritrea over a boundary that has been delineated and virtually demarcated twenty-two years ago? These questions are timely and every Tigrayan must answer.


In previous successive meetings that were held during the first half of the year 2018 in Tigray, it was common to see Tigrayan elders demanding that the TPLF accept the Eritrea and Ethiopia border decision and move on to demarcation. TPLF never listened to those wise elders. Currently, some media personalities are echoing the words of these elders. Will TPLF listen to those emerging voices or continue its saber-rattling and ignite another war? Time will tell us.

Victory to the Masses and Eternal Glory to Our Martyrs.


The views and opinions titled "TPLF: Algiers or Pretoria Comes First?", are those of Abel Kebedom and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Setit Media. ኣብዚ "TPLF: Algiers or Pretoria Comes First?", ዘርእስቱ ጽሑፍ ተገሊጹ ዘሎ ርእይቶን ሓሳብን ናይ Abel Kebedom እምበር መትከላትን መርገጽን ሰቲት ሚዲያ ዘንጸባርቕ ኣይኮነን።

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