Ethiopia calls for formal ceasefire with Tigray rebels

The Ethiopian government called Wednesday for a formal Tigray ceasefire agreement to be reached as soon as possible to enable the resumption of basic services to the war-stricken northern region.

A committee established in June to explore the possibility of talks with Tigrayan rebels said it had drawn up a “peace proposal” to try to end the war, which erupted in November 2020.

In order to ensure a sustained provision of humanitarian aid as well as to facilitate the resumption of basic services and also to resolve the conflict peacefully; the committee has underscored that there is a need to conclude a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible,” the committee said in a statement.

“To expedite this process, the committee has deliberated upon and adopted a peace proposal that would lead to the conclusion of a ceasefire and lay the foundation for future political dialogue.”

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has insisted that basic services would have to be restored to the region of six million people before dialogue could begin.

Fighting has eased in northern Ethiopia since a truce was declared at the end of March, allowing the resumption of desperately needed international aid convoys to Tigray.

Ethiopia’s northernmost region has suffered desperate food shortages and is without access to basic services such as electricity, communications and banking.

The committee said it would submit its peace proposal to the African Union, which has been leading the push to end a conflict that has killed untold numbers of people and left millions in need of humanitarian aid.

“All effort is being exerted in collaboration with the African Union so that it would be possible to determine the venue and time for talks and to begin peace talks quickly and to conclude a ceasefire agreement shortly,” it said.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government says any negotiations must be led by the AU, but the rebels want Kenya to mediate.