Ethiopia’s Tigray Demands Troop Withdrawals for Ceasefire Talks
Before engaging in any talks with the federal government regarding a ceasefire, Ethiopia’s Tigray region wants all troops out of Eritrea and the neighboring state of Amhara, according to a statement released on Sunday.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the regional authority driven out by Ethiopian soldiers and troops from neighboring Eritrea last year, returned to Mekelle, the region’s capital, amid ecstatic crowds on Monday.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government responded by unilaterally declaring a truce, a move denounced by TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda as a “joke.”
In a statement made by Getachew on Sunday, “The Government of Tigray” claimed it would accept a ceasefire in principle if there were “ironclad guarantees” that no more invasions would occur, but that a number of other conditions would have to be met before any deal could be formalized.
“Invading forces from Amhara and Eritrea must withdraw from Tigray and return to their pre-war territories,” the statement said.
The Prime Minister’s spokeswoman and the chairman of the government task group set up to coordinate the security operation in Tigray did not respond immediately.
Bunnaj gathered that before Abiy came to power in 2018, the TPLF had ruled the central government for decades. After accusing the TPLF of attacking military bases in Tigray, his administration has been fighting them since late last year.
The United Nations warned on Friday that more than 400,000 people in the region are now suffering starvation, and there is a potential of additional violence despite the federal government’s unilateral ceasefire.
Tigray’s administration stated in a statement that it wants unrestricted aid into the region, as well as complete access to basic services like power, telecommunications, banking, healthcare, and education.
According to the statement, the UN should create an independent authority to investigate war crimes, as well as an international entity to oversee the implementation of any ceasefire agreement.
It also urged the immediate release of all ethnic Tigrayan political leaders and national defense force members incarcerated in prisons across the country.