Expert explains why Kiir is the right person to mediate peace in Ethiopia

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Security Advisor Tut Gatluak Manime |Photo: File

Nov 23rd, 2020 (Thessherald)–As the region struggles to find the right and unbiased country to mediate peace talks between the federal government and Tigray leaders, the Director of the Global Leadership Center for Peace Studies, Dr. Matthew LeRiche, has said that S. Sudan’s leaders have become experts in peace mediation, and are well positioned to understand Ethiopia’s different ethnic dynamics.

“As the conflict between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) continues to escalate, calls for mediation have come from around the world. The question of who could mediate, however, has yet to be answered. The conflict requires an intermediary that is perceived to be honest and credible by both sides, but this rules out far more international actors than it rules in,” said Dr. Matthew LeRiche, Director of the Global Leadership Center and the War and Peace Studies Program.

The expert pointed out that, with the exception of South Sudan, many countries in Africa, Arab and Western countries are too biased to broker peace between the Ethiopian warring parties.

“In all this, there is one potential mediator that stands out. Despite being mired in its own civil conflict and peace process, South Sudan may hold the key.”

The expert outlined four reasons that qualify South Sudan to be a potential mediator in Ethiopia’s political crisis.

Firstly, South Sudan is not perceived as a threat or rival by any of the warring parties.

Secondly, South Sudanese leaders have plenty of experience and understanding of the kinds of ethnic dynamics that underlie the conflict in Ethiopia.

Thirdly, South Sudan has become well-seasoned in peace talks and processes. Having been involved in active deliberations since at least the 1980s, many leaders have a deep knowledge of negotiation and mediation.

Moreover, this learning came through an appropriately local prism that may be far more relevant to Ethiopia’s challenges than the experience of other potential international mediators.