UAE endorses ceasefire in Tigray, Ethiopia as TPLF seizes control of Mekelle
ABU DHABI, UAE - The United Arab Emirates [UAE] has endorsed the ceasefire in the Tigray region, which was first announced on Monday after months of war that saw thousands dead and close to 2 million displaced from their homes in the northern region of Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] withdrew from Tigray's capital Mekelle on Monday with the federal government claiming that the step was taken to allow negotiations between authorities in Addis Ababa and the "rebels".
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UAE said the matter should be given priority, adding that a political solution is important. The Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] has been fighting the ENDF and Eritrea troops in the region.
"The UAE has welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, stressing that a political solution is the only way to end the conflict in the country," UAE said in the statement.
In the statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation affirmed that this decision is an "important step to achieve a political settlement and the aspirations of the Ethiopian people" to build a future that meets their aspirations for peace and prosperity.
The statement added that a constructive dialogue within the framework of state institutions along with the rule of law and the constitution is the only way to bring lasting peace and stability to the country.
While Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] maintains that it managed to flush the federal troops from the capital, Addis Ababa slammed the reports, arguing that the withdrawal wasn't informed by any duress.
They followed recent reports of an escalation in fighting between government troops and the Tigray's former governing party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] outside Mekelle.
"The capital of Tigray, Mekelle, is under our control," Getachew Reda, a TPLF spokesperson, told Reuters by satellite phone on Monday night.
Ethiopia's government said it was declaring a ceasefire following a request from the interim regional administration in Tigray, which Addis Ababa appointed after ousting TPLF forces.
"This unilateral ceasefire declaration starts from today June 28, 2021, and will stay until the farming season ends," the federal government said in a statement late on Monday. Ethiopia's main planting season lasts from May to September.
"Until all our enemies leave Tigray, we will fight," Liya Kassa, another TPLF spokesperson, said in an audio statement posted late on Monday on the Facebook page of the party-affiliated Tigrai Media House.
Eritrea to the north and the neighboring region of Amhara to the south both sent troops into Tigray to support Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government after it accused the TPLF of attacking military bases across the region in early November.
The Ethiopian prime minister's spokesperson and the military's spokesperson did not respond to telephone calls and messages seeking comment. The TPLF could not immediately be reached for comment on the ceasefire.