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Ethiopian PM rejects international ‘interference’ in Tigray conflict

By Aggrey MutamboSenior Diplomatic Editor (Nation Media Group)

Ethiopia – Eritrean war of 1998 that culminated in aggressive brutal trench warfare for two years, similar to global second-world war campaigns between 1939 to 1945.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday rejected more calls for dialogue over the Tigray conflict, terming continued pressure to de-escalate as outside interference.

In a statement, Dr Abiy said anyone interested in resolving the issue should wait for Addis Ababa to formally make a request, effectively blocking any mediation.

His government has been running a military operation in the northern parts of the country, pursuing fighters allied to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front which he accuses of treason. But the fighting, which has caused as many as 40,000 refugees into Sudan as well as nearly a 1000 dead, has seen the international community call for dialogue to resolve the conflict.

Also read:  Ethiopian govt. says rebels have committed 'atrocities' during two-week Tigray conflict

On Tuesday, the matter reached the UN Security Council, but members disagreed right in the middle, with African representatives rejecting the idea of a session on Tigray.

Also read:  Ethiopia accuses Tigrayan WHO chief of backing dissident region

Special envoys

Diplomats from South Africa, Tunisia and Niger argued they needed to consult with the African Union, which last week appointed three envoys to resolve the issue.

Also read:  Ethiopian Civil War Exposes Ineffective African Union

Dr Abiy rejected them. On Wednesday, he seemed to close the same door on the UN and other partners, even as the 72-hour amnesty given to the TPLF neared expiry. “While we consider the concerns of our friends, we reject any interference in our internal affairs,” Abiy said. “We therefore respectfully urge the international community to refrain from any unwelcome and unlawful acts of interference and respect the fundamental principle of non-intervention.”

Dr Abiy has said the ‘final phase’ of the crackdown on TPLF fighters, targeting their capital in Makelle, will be launched after the expiry of a three-day amnesty on Wednesday. The TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael, however, rejected the amnesty, saying his people are ‘ready to die’ for their land.

Also read:  Ethiopia freezes bank accounts of companies 'financing TPLF'

But the country’s Western allies; Germany, UK, US and the European Union had all asked Addis Ababa to give dialogue a chance. A statement from the US National Security Council on Tuesday indicated that Washington supports the AU move to send special envoys to Addis Ababa. “The US calls for mediation in Ethiopia and supports the efforts led by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the AU to end this tragic conflict now,” the Council said.

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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