Ethiopia’s Tigray region say committed to observing humanitarian ceasefire

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Rebellious Tigrayan forces in Ethiopia have said they will respect a ceasefire proposed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government as long as sufficient aid is delivered to their war-scarred northern region “within reasonable time”.

The government in Addis Ababa declared the cessation of hostilities on Thursday, saying it was to allow aid to flow into Tigray.

“The government of Tigray will do everything it can do to make sure this cessation of hostilities is a success,” the regional Tigrayan government said in a statement late on Thursday.

War broke out between Tigray’s rulers – the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – and the central government led by Abiy, in November 2020.

The conflict, which later engulfed neighbouring regions, has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions across northern Ethiopia and into neighbouring Sudan.

The United Nations has said more than 90% of the 5.5 million Tigrayans need food aid.

The federal government has always said aid is allowed to enter Tigray but only a small amount has gone in since Ethiopian troops withdrew from Tigray at the end of June last year.

Tigray’s leaders have blamed federal authorities and authorities in the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions for blocking aid going into Tigray, accusations they deny.

The central government has accused Tigrayan fighters of blocking aid because they have invaded Afar, a neighbouring region along the only land route currently open into Tigray.

The United Nations and the United States welcomed Addis Ababa’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire, which followed a visit by the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, to the capital Addis Ababa this week.