Ethiopia PM Says Committee Created to Negotiate With Tigray Forces

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced the formation of a committee to begin peace talks with Tigray forces after 18 months of war.

Abiy spoke to parliament on Tuesday about the conflict in comments broadcast on state television.

“We need to repeat the victory that we made on the battlefield in peace talks,”  he said adding that the war is hindering the country’s development. “Every bullet that is shot is like a dollar lost.” 

Abiy said that the committee would be led by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and would be given 10 to 15 days to decide what will be up for negotiation.

Although the talks may have the potential to bring an end to Ethiopia’s civil war, William Davison, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, a Belgium-based non-profit research group, told VOA that important details are yet to emerge  

“We don’t have a clear idea of the participants,” he said. “To achieve a sustainable peace that would need the representation from other actors in the conflict.

The return to Tigray forces (TPLF) of the disputed region of West Tigray, which was occupied by Amhara and national forces in the recent conflict, is likely to be a major sticking point in peace talks.

Last week TPLF spokesperson Gettachew Reda denied claims that the TPLF has “abandoned claims to Western Tigray.”

The conflict in Tigray between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front began in late 2020. It quickly exploded into a civil war which, along with famine, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced 2 million from their homes.

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