Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels offer conditional truce, agree to AU-led peace process
Tigrayan rebels from Ethiopia’s northern region called for an “immediate” cease-fire Sunday (11 September) and said they would accept a peace process with the federal government led by the African Union (AU) after three weeks of renewed fighting ended a fragile truce.
In a statement to mark the beginning of the Ethiopian new year, the rebels — from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a party that ruled Ethiopia for nearly three decades until 2018 — called for a “comprehensive negotiated” cease-fire and said they had established a negotiating team that is “ready to be deployed without delay.” The statement said that the Tigrayan rebels „are ready to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities in order to create a conducive atmosphere”, but added that they decried the “closeness” of the AU mediator, Nigerian Olusegun Obasanjo, to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The conflict in northern Ethiopia broke out in November 2020, when Ahmed sent the army to Tigray to dislodge dissident authorities in the region, accusing them of attacking military bases. The resumption of fighting on August 24 ended a five-month truce. The Ethiopian government has previously said it was ready for unconditional talks “anytime, anywhere,” brokered by the Addis Ababa-headquartered AU. The conflict-torn region is cut off from the rest of the country and deprived of electricity, telecommunications networks, banking services, and fuel. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is from the restive region, on Wednesday described the “man-made catastrophe” there as the “worst disaster on Earth” and slammed global leaders for overlooking the humanitarian crisis.