Ethiopia needs the world to hold Tigray’s TPLF to its word

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The international community now has an immediate option – which it has so far shied away from.

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The return of hostilities in Ethiopia’s north last month has devastated the country’s hard-won progress toward lasting peace. After nearly two years of war and widespread destruction, the fragile hope that communities in Tigre, Afar and Amhara had relied on has been stolen.


The international community now has an immediate option, which it has so far shied away from. This could either pressure the Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to end their violence and enter into peace talks, or it could remain silent and encourage them to expand their offensive.

Fresh reports suggesting that the TPLF is now ready to engage in African Union (AU)-mediated talks are welcome. However, it is important that they stick to their word.

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Since March this year, the government-led ceasefire was strong. The humanitarian ceasefire has allowed unprecedented aid to reach the Tigre, with more than 4,000 trucks delivering food, medicines and other vital supplies. World Food Program ratification The immediate risk of famine was averted at the end of July.

The battle at Tigre actually ended in July 2021. The conflict between then and the beginning of humanitarian conflict was concentrated in neighboring regions. TPLF invaded and captured The towns and villages of Afar and Amhara, which bring untold misfortune to the Ethiopians who live there. see human rights And Amnesty International The TPLF has documented the use of rape as a weapon of war, the killing of innocent civilians, the looting of aid and the destruction of public infrastructure.

The TPLF was pushed back to the Tigre’s borders and – once it became clear that its offensive had failed – retaliated with the government’s ceasefire. However, while the Ethiopian government and Ethiopian people have used the ceasefire to try and secure peace, the TPLF is strengthening its forces. Reports from multiple sources suggest recruitment of child soldiers.

The fact that peace talks were underway makes it difficult to comprehend the violence of this latest round. The government underscored its openness to peace talks “anytime, anywhere” and did not insist on any preconditions. AU’s role as mediator was welcomed and steps were taken to demonstrate our intention, such as the release of TPLF prisoners.

However, on 22 August, just two days before this new outbreak of violence, the TPLF published comments dismissing the AU’s participation in the negotiations and outlining a series of unrealistic conditions that would need to be met so that even may consider joining.

For too long, the Ethiopian government has been left to try to bring the TPLF to the table. I believe the government has exhausted every possible approach. It is therefore time for the international community to end its silence on the actions of the TPLF and call on its leadership to lay down arms and join the AU-led dialogue.

time is of the essence. On the day of the first attack, the United Nations and the World Food Program Alert issued on theft of 12 tankers With 570,000 liters of fuel from a WFP warehouse in Mekele by TPLF forces. As WFP chief David Beasley has said, millions of people will starve if aid agencies cannot deliver food.

Another round of prolonged conflict is in no one’s interest, especially the six million Ethiopians living in Tigre. Ethiopians want peace and start rebuilding their lives and communities.

The Ethiopian government will always defend the sovereignty of the country and protect its citizens, but peace and unity is always better than war and division.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of Al Jazeera.

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