“Ethiopia: War and Famine,” African Research Report, December 15, 1989.


International diplomacy brought together both sides of the Ethiopian civil war.  Ethiopia’s government met with the two secessionist sides in a series of meetings in hopes of settling disputes.  Also the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has had some military success in central Shoa Province—the seat of the capital Addis Ababa. Therefore Ethiopian Government have increased their defensive campaign.


TPLF Talks (Rome)


Eight days of talks occurred between the Ethiopian government and the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  At the meeting and eight-point peace place was proposed to end the civil war in northern Ethiopia. 


Both sides have differing views as to why there is a conflict.


 It was made clear that TPLF was fighting because it believes “the people of Ethiopia have not been given any chance of defending their interest in a peaceful and democratic manner”.


The Ethiopian government’s response was “The politics of secession and national disunity can have no place in our epoch”. 


EPLF Talks (Nairobi)


A second round of preliminary talks between the government and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF).  Former President Jimmy Carter mediated this session as well as the first one that was held in Atlanta in September.


Discussion between the two sides are said to be congenial. 


3 issues were discussed:  the choice of a co-chairman and the appointment of observers and a secretariat for substantive…(article becomes unreadable).


Many are surprised by the progress of the two sides, however distrust between the two sides are still apparent. 




Negotiations stall over a disagreement on the United Nations’ role as an observer at the next round of talks to be held the following year.


The EPLF, who has declared Eritrea as its own country, state that if the UN does not participate as an observer the talks would breakdown. 


UN refuses to attend unless they are invited by Ethiopia.  UN policy dictates that only member states can receive help from the UN.  This situation presents itself as an advantage towards Ethiopia claim that this conflict is an internal matter rather than a 28 year civil war.


“Dispute is about UN is the same as the political issue which fuelled the war:  whether Eritrea is a sovereign state deserving international recognition, or simply an Ethiopian province”.


  Knocking on Addis’s Door


Tigrean military campaigns continue to be successful.  By late November, the TPLF has secured even more territory.


TPLF’s Objectives


TPLF describes how a transitional government would be put in place to ease into a “fully democratic state”.


The TPLF is committed to uniting Ethiopia but would not be against any regions secession. 


TPLF believes that government should control all foreign trade and the “commanding heights of the economy”, however every peasant “must have the right to the free use of his produce”. 


Food Aid Plea


Britain implores Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam to allow food and aid to rebel areas that are currently facing severe famine.


Possibility that 1m people have already died.


Food and aid have already been prepared or pledged by Britain, however more is needed. 


A public appeal for funds, using radio and television advertisements has begun. 




 --Gary Chang