On Monday, the Tigray rebels announced that they had retreated to their region, leaving those neighboring Amhara and Afar where they had progressed in recent months, opening a new phase in this deadly conflict.
Although it has not yet been confirmed, the withdrawal of the Front for the Liberation of the People of Tigray (TPLF) has fueled the hope of opening peace talks, after more than 13 months of a war that has started a deep humanitarian crisis.
On Friday, the government communications service said in a statement that federal forces had secured eastern Amhara and Afar, and received orders to
scrupulously stay in areas under our control.
The Ethiopian government has decided not to order its forces to advance further in the Tigray region, says the text posted on Twitter.
The secretary general of
seize this opportunity [pour] cease hostilities in the one-year conflict, take all measures to ensure the delivery of essential humanitarian aid.
He also called to
withdrawal of foreign fighters and to address political differences through a credible and inclusive national dialogue, according to a statement from his deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq.
A probable appeasement
A temporary cessation of hostilities could mean appeasement after months of intense fighting that saw both sides claiming major territorial advances.
For a time, the rebels claimed to be around 200 km from the capital Addis Ababa, prompting several countries – including the United States, France, the United Kingdom – to ask their citizens to leave Ethiopia.
At the end of November, state media announced the arrival on the front line of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a former army lieutenant-colonel, to lead a campaign.
counteroffensive. The government then claimed several victories.
On Monday, Mr Abiy’s spokesperson Billene Seyoum told the
to open the door humanitarian aid, was in fact used to hide military disappointments.
So far the
absolutely not possible a withdrawal from Amhara and Afar, demanded by the government as a prerequisite for negotiations. For their part, the rebels demanded that the federal authorities put an end to the
seat from Tigray.
More than a year of conflict
War erupted in November 2020 after Mr. Abiy sent the federal army to Tigray in order to remove local authorities from theTPLF, who challenged his authority and accused him of attacking military bases.
The prime minister proclaimed victory three weeks later, after the capture of the regional capital Mekele. But in June, theTPLF took over most of Tigray, then advanced into Afar and Amhara.
The conflict has left several thousand dead, more than two million displaced and plunged hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians into conditions bordering on famine, according to theUN.