Home World Authorities in Ethiopia’s rebel-held Tigray say they will abide by a ceasefire

Authorities in Ethiopia’s rebel-held Tigray say they will abide by a ceasefire

The conflict in the Tigray region flared up in November 2020

Authorities in Ethiopia’s rebel-held Tigray region announced Sunday they would observe a ceasefire as fighting intensified in the country’s war-torn north and the African Union called for an immediate ceasefire.

International concern is growing over the fate of Shire, a town of 100,000 in northwestern Tigray, where Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have launched a joint offensive and reported civilian casualties.

The government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abia Ahmed and Tigray authorities accepted the AU’s invitation for talks, but talks scheduled for last weekend in South Africa did not take place and no new date has been announced.

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“The chairman strongly calls for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian services” in areas cut off by the fighting, Faki said in a statement issued on Sunday but dated Saturday.

“We are ready to adhere to an immediate cessation of hostilities,” their statement reads.

An Ethiopian government spokesman did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by AFP.

International alarm over the latest fighting came as US special envoy Mike Hammer arrived in Addis Ababa to push for a peaceful end to the nearly two-year war.

“Working intensively with the African Union and other partners to begin an AU-led peace process in the coming days,” the US State Department’s African Bureau tweeted on Sunday.

Diplomats suggested that logistical problems were partly to blame for the long-awaited meeting in South Africa last weekend not taking place.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), an aid organization in Tigray, announced on Saturday that one of its staff was among three civilians killed and another wounded in an attack in Shire.

“WFP condemns any deliberate targeting of humanitarian activities” and calls on all parties to respect international law, a WFP spokesman in Ethiopia told AFP.

– “No Choice Attacks” –

“Recent indiscriminate attacks by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and the Eritrean Defense Forces in Shire and reports that Eritrean forces may soon take control of civilian areas are deeply concerning,” Power wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Eritrea is a historical enemy of the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition until Abiy came to power in 2018, and its forces have been accused of mass rapes and killings in Tigray.

Eritrea claims it is being “scapegoated” and has accused the US and others of turning a blind eye to TPLF atrocities.

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