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Ethiopia’s Tigray demands troop withdrawal for ceasefire talks By Reuters

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Ethiopia’s Tigray demands troop withdrawal for ceasefire talks By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A tank damaged during fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and Tigray Special Forces stands outside the Ethiopian city of Humera on July 1, 2021. REUTERS / Stringer / Stock Photo / Stock Photo

By Dawit Endeshaw

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s Tigray region wants a total withdrawal of troops from Eritrea and the neighboring state of Amhara before it can enter into talks with the federal government about a ceasefire, it said in a statement on Sunday.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the regional authority ousted last year by Ethiopian forces and troops from neighboring Eritrea, returned to the region’s capital Mekelle on Monday to cheer the crowds.

His return was followed by a unilateral ceasefire declaration by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a move dismissed by TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda as a “joke”.

A statement from the “Government of Tigray”, released Sunday by Getachew, said it would accept a ceasefire in principle if there were strong guarantees that no further invasions would take place, but that a number of other conditions would have to be met before the could formalize any agreement. .

“The invading forces from Amhara and Eritrea must withdraw from Tigray and return to their pre-war territories,” the statement said.

There were no immediate comments from the prime minister’s spokeswoman and the chairman of the government task force set up to coordinate the security operation in Tigray.

The TPLF dominated the central government for decades before Abiy came to power in 2018. His government has been fighting the TPLF since late last year after accusing it of attacking military bases in Tigray. Thousands of people have died.

More than 400,000 people in the region are now facing famine and there is a risk of more fighting in the region despite the federal government’s unilateral ceasefire, the United Nations warned on Friday.

In its statement, the Tigray government said it wanted unrestricted access to aid to the region, as well as the full provision of essential services such as electricity, telecommunications, banking, health care and education.

The statement said that the United Nations should establish an independent body to investigate war crimes and that an international entity should be created to oversee the implementation of any ceasefire agreements.

He also demanded the immediate release of all Tigrayana political leaders and members of the national defense force who are being held in prisons across the country.

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