The Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray demands a total withdrawal of Eritrean troops and fighters from the Ethiopian state of Amhara.
Rebel leaders in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have demanded the total withdrawal of Eritrean troops and fighters from neighboring Ethiopian state Amhara before they can engage in talks with the federal government on a ceasefire.
The development came in a statement released on Sunday by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), the regional authority ousted last year by Ethiopian forces and troops from neighboring Eritrea.
The TPLF returned to the region’s capital, Mekelle, on Monday to applause from the crowd. Their return was followed by a unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by the federal government, a move rejected by TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda as a “joke”.
Sunday’s statement said the TPLF would agree to a ceasefire in principle if there were rock-solid guarantees not to attack again, but a series of other conditions would need to be met before a deal could be reached. can be formalized.
“The invading forces of Amhara and Eritrea must withdraw from Tigray and return to their pre-war territories,” he said.
The rebel authorities are also calling for “procedures” to hold Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to account for “the damage they have caused”, as well as the establishment by the United Nations of a body of independent investigation to investigate “horrific crimes” committed during the conflict.
Other conditions are humanitarian, in particular the distribution of aid and the safe return to Tigray of the displaced persons.
There was no immediate comment from the spokesperson for the Prime Minister and the chairman of the government task force set up to coordinate the security operation in Tigray.
Legitimation of the TPLF
Catherine Soi of Al Jazeera, reporting from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, said one of the least acceptable conditions was the restoration of what Addis Ababa considers the rebel government in Tigray.
“We have not heard from the Ethiopian government… it will be difficult to accept some of these requests. For example, by legitimizing the TPLF as the government of Tigray, the [central] the government will admit defeat, ”she said.
“But some analysts we’ve spoken to say maybe this is a small window for the start of a political dialogue.”
The TPLF dominated the central government for decades before Abiy came to power in 2018.
His government has been fighting the TPLF since late last year after accusing it of attacking military bases in Tigray. Thousands have been killed.
More than 400,000 people in the region are now facing famine and there is a risk of further clashes in the region despite the unilateral ceasefire by the federal government, the UN warned on Friday.