TPLF leader: We are ready to negotiate with Ethiopian government
ADDIS ABABA - The Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] political faction has insisted that it's ready to negotiate with authorities in Addis Ababa for a ceasefire, just days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed picked a committee that would evaluate mechanisms for possible negotiations.
Ahmed, whose administration has been put on the spot for "triggering" conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, insisted that his willingness to accommodate dialogue was guided by the spirit of national reconciliation and brotherhood after over 20 months of conflict in the country.
The PM has been under pressure to negotiate with TPLF's military wing; Tigray Defense Forces [TDF], a group he dismisses as a terrorist organization. But the rising humanitarian catastrophe has softened his heart, paving room for the much-anticipated negotiations.
Debretsion Gebremichael, the president of TPLF, said the group is prepared for a peace deal in Ethiopia, adding that human rights principles will guide the process should Addis Ababa come to the table. There have been attempts to reconcile Debretsion Gebremichael and Abiy Ahmed.
"We are prepared to negotiate for peace consistent with fundamental principles for human rights, democracy, and accountability," Debretsion Gebremichael said, which is what gives hope to the Tigray region which has been a battlefield since November 2020.
Earlier this week, TPLF said it was ready for dialogue initiated by outgoing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is a close friend of Ethiopia. Uhuru has been working closely with the United States of America to push for a truce in the Horn of Africa nation.
Le Mundo, a French newspaper, claimed that the negotiations between the Ethiopian government and Tigray rebels are likely to take place in Arusha, Tanzania. TDF spokesperson Getachew Reda could neither confirm nor deny the latest development in the country.
But Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Nigerian president who was appointed as African Union envoy to Ethiopia, recently said "the situation has improved, it cannot be compared with the past six months". There are claims from some quarters that Abiy Ahmed met Debretsion Gebremichael in Nigeria.
“The Government of Tigray has always made it clear that any lasting resolution of the current crisis must be predicated on the reestablishment of the prewar status quo ante, " a statement from the embattled government of Tigray read recently.