Tigray repel leaders drop preconditions for ceasefire

 A senior member of Ethiopia’s Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has said that his group has decided to drop its preconditions for start of a formal ceasefire talk with the government in Addis Abeba just days after an Ethiopian official described the demands as unrealistic.’

Speaking to Sudans Post in Nebraska, United States, the rebel diplomat who requested not to be named for having not authorized to speak to the media, said his group has agreed in principles to enter formal talks with the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

He said they have decided to go to the ceasefire talk with the government even without the preconditions they have put forth because they believe that the talk itself will be a forum in which they rebel group will present its demands to the Ethiopian government without a mediator.

“The leadership of the TPLF has agreed – in principles – to go for ceasefire talk with the government of Abiy Ahmed even if the preconditions made by our leadership are not met because the talk may be a forum for a way to remove these foreign forces in our country,” he added.

“So, we will go to negotiate with the federal government by ourselves without a mediator in this ceasefire talk and we will try to present our demands for a full peace talks. If they are ready to end this senseless conflict, then they will accept to remove the foreign forces and create a demilitarized zone in the meantime,” he added.

Last week, in an interview with the BBC, rebel chief Debretsion Gebremichael said he was in an informal talk with the government in Addis Ababa and had laid down certain preconditions that must be met before the two sides of the conflict could go for formal ceasefire talk what would be an important step of end the conflict.

The preconditions, Debretsion said, include the withdrawal of foreign forces such as the Eritrean army battalions fighting alongside the government against the Tigray rebels in northern Ethiopia. He also demanded that the Ethiopian government move away from Tigray border to avoid clashes that hinder humanitarian access.

But earlier this week, an Ethiopian senior government official told Sudans Post in the capital Addis Ababa that some demands made by the Tigray rebels were confidential, and include the removal of senior army officers, something the official called an ‘unrealistic demand.’

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