The Ethiopian government says it is ready at any time and at any place suggested to engage in peace talks under the auspices of an African Union-led process.
The rebel forces, the Tigray People Liberation Front have also expressed a desire for peace negotiations but mistrust between it and the government is showing up again as it accuses the government of provoking its forces.
The United Nations says the conflict in the country’s North that began in November 2020 has now forced over 9 million people to be in need of humanitarian assistance in that region.
A peace committee tasked by the Ethiopian government to guide it toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the country’s North has come up with what it calls “a peace proposal”.
“Firstly, it proposes for peace talks to happen within the coming weeks towards an agreed ceasefire. Secondly, it proposes to undertake an in-depth political dialogue leading towards a lasting settlement. Thirdly, it proposes for other pending issues to be addressed through a national dialogue,” says Spokesperson of Ethiopia Prime Minister Office Billene Seyoum.
Civil organisations have condemned the loss of lives in Tigray:
The Tigray People Liberation Front, the rebel group that the government has been in conflict with for over a year and a half has expressed mistrust for this announcement. It is blaming government forces for what it calls ” provocation of its forces”
It also reiterates its position that the return for basic services to the Tigray region is a must before any talks.
But Abiy Ahmed’s government says talks must be held without pre-conditions:
“The issue of restoration of services comes up again and again as if there is an on and off switch centrally located. This is an erroneous and dangerous view of how to service that is disrupted due to conflict and related damage is administered. The Government has made it clear on several occasions that the security and administrative arrangements need to be cleared and put in place to facilitate technical repair work on the ground in the Tigray region to restore said services,” says Seyoum.
The UN says the humanitarian situation in the country’s North is dire. In the Tigray region alone where it estimates there are 6 million people in need, humanitarian supply resumed in April this year after a humanitarian ceasefire was announced by the government.
The UN says as of 1 August more than 1.4 million metric tons of humanitarian supplies had arrived in the area. But it says more food and non-food items are needed as soon as possible.