Ethiopian president stresses government “committed to a peaceful resolution” to Tigray war

The President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, has reaffirmed the Government’s willingness to reach a peace agreement with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to end the conflict unleashed in November 2020 in the Tigray region (north).

The leader has indicated before the Ethiopian Parliament that the Executive “is committed to a peaceful resolution” and has said that Addis Ababa has shown its willingness to negotiate “without preconditions”, although she has warned that it could take “corrective measures” if the TPLF does not move forward in the dialogue.

He has also acknowledged that “conflict and internal displacement are among the main challenges facing the country”, while calling for “active participation of citizens” to make the national dialogue process “fruitful”, as reported by the Ethiopian television channel Fana.

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The Ethiopian government and the TPLF recently accepted an African Union (AU) proposal to start peace talks in South Africa, following the upsurge in fighting since August after the collapse of a humanitarian truce that had been in place for nearly five months.

The conflict in Ethiopia erupted following a TPLF attack on the main army base at Mekelle, after which Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered an offensive against the group after months of tensions at the political and administrative levels. A “humanitarian truce” is currently in force, although both sides have accused each other of impeding the delivery of aid.

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The TPLF accuses Abiy of whipping up tensions since his arrival in power in April 2018, when he became the first Oromo to take office. Until then, the TPLF had been the dominant force within Ethiopia’s ruling coalition since 1991, the ethnically-supported Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The group opposed Abiy’s reforms, which it saw as an attempt to undermine its influence.

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