Ethiopia forms body to negotiate with Tigray rebels amid deadly civil war

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on Tuesday that his government had formed a committee to broker peace with regional forces in Tigray amid Ethiopia’s deadly civil war.

Around 5.5 million people have been displaced during Ethiopia’s 19-month-long civil war after the first fighting broke out in Ethiopia’s northernmost region in November 2020.

The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have since been engaged in a deadly conflict that spilled over into neighboring Afar and Amhara regions last year.

“As far as peace is concerned, a committee has been established,” Abiy reportedly told members of Ethiopia’s parliament on Tuesday, according to Al Jazeera. “The negotiation requires a lot of work. A committee has been set up and it will study how we will conduct the talks.”

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TOPSHOT - Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters arrive after an eight-hour march in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia, June 29, 2021.
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TOPSHOT – Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters arrive after an eight-hour march in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia, June 29, 2021.
(Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

Ethiopia called for a ceasefire in March 2022, but unrest across the country has continued.

Abiy has been criticized not only for his failure to stop the war, but also for the policies he adopted which contributed to further human rights abuses.

On May 20, he launched a “law and order operation” meant to “protect the citizens and ensure the survival of the nation”.

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - JUNE 13: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attends the inauguration of the newly renovated Meskel Square on June 13, 2021 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – JUNE 13: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attends the inauguration of the newly renovated Meskel Square on June 13, 2021 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
(Photo by Countess Jemal/Getty Images)

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But on May 23, security officials in the Amhara region announced that more than 4,500 people had been arrested in the region alone, including journalists and activists.

Abiy reportedly gave the newly created committee 10-15 days to begin negotiations with the TPLF to end the fighting.

But Ethiopia’s president’s timely request could prove difficult given the country’s decades of regional and ethnic conflict.

The TPLF became a prominent political party in Ethiopia after helping to overthrow a military regime in the early 1990s, in power until Abiy became president in 2018.

The Tigrayan political group accused Abiy of trying to centralize power over the regional leadership.

TOPSHOT - Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters prepare to leave for another ground at the Tigray Martyr's Memorial Monument Center in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia, June 30, 2021.

TOPSHOT – Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters prepare to leave for another ground at the Tigray Martyr’s Memorial Monument Center in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia, June 30, 2021.
(Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

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Abiy, in turn, accused the TPLF of trying to regain power.

With more than 4.5 million Ethiopians internally displaced, global authorities have sounded the alarm that Ethiopia could face one of the worst cases of famine on the planet. .

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