Ethiopia to hold talks with rebels


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia on Tuesday spoke about the possibility of peace talks with Tigrayan rebels.

What has changed?
Abiy said his administration has set up a committee to look into the possibilities of holding discussions with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), putting to rest rumors that secret talks were already underway. The remarks come after the government declared an “indefinite humanitarian cease-fire” in March, allowing humanitarian aid to reach Tigray’s northernmost district for the first time since mid-December.

What are the government’s conditions for peace?
The committee, which will be led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonen, will write a report outlining the preconditions for negotiations, the PM said. “Peace isn’t something you hide,” Abiy told lawmakers, as he dismissed rumours of secret talks with the rebels. About two million people have been displaced by the conflict, with millions more in need of food aid, according to the United Nations.

What are the rebels saying?
The contentious subject of western Tigray, a disputed region claimed by both Amharas and Tigrayans, is expected to come up during any negotiations. Western Tigray, which has been seized by Amhara forces since the war began in November 2020, is a “non-negotiable” part of Tigray, according to the rebels. They insist that “any lasting solution of the current crisis must be predicated on the re-establishment of the prewar status quo ante”.

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