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ETHIOPIA: Tigray official welcomes Abiy’s decision to withdraw troops from Badme

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Ethiopian army patrol drives within Badme on 8 June 2018 (Photo Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)
June 21, 2018 (ADDIS ABABA) - An Ethiopian official from the border region of Tigray welcomed the decision of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to withdraw troops from Badme town in line with Algeria peace agreement signed with Eritrea in 2000.

According to official Ethiopia News Agency (ENA), Debretsion GebreMichael, the Tigray deputy chief administrator, said the Abiy’s decision to "fully implement the Algiers’ Agreement is an icebreaker in the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea".

"The conflict had seriously affected the development of the border areas as well as the countries hindering the possibility of a joint development program which could have been of mutual benefit for the peoples of the two countries," he added.

Debretsion’s statement comes after statements by President Isaias Afewerki welcoming the move of the new Ethiopian prime minister and announced he would send a delegation to Addis Ababa to discuss its implementation

However, he warned against statements by what he described as "TPLF clique, and other vultures" saying they would seek to obstruct any positive change in the relations between the two countries.

Badme is the home of 15,000 people out of nearly 4.3 million Ethiopian in the Tigray’s drylands.

Reports from the border area say local residents are hostile to the government decision and consider it as a betrayal by Addis Ababa.

Some residents told Reuters that they would not remain idle and threatened to vague violence.

“We have no issues over reconciling with our Eritrean brothers. But we will not leave Badme. We do not want peace by giving away this land after all the sacrifice,” Teklit Girmay, a local government official told Reuters.

Also, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, which is part of Ethiopia’s ruling EPRDF issued a statement expressing their opposition to withdrawal from Badme.

"The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front will not take part in any process that harms the interests of the people of Tigray," said the statement.

(ST)

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