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Ethiopia Urges Int’l Pressure on Tigray Region to Accept Peace Talks

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Illustrative: Ethiopian government soldiers ride in the back of a truck on a road near Agula, north of Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 8, 2021. (Ben Curtis/AP)

Khartoum – Mohammed Amin Yassin

Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan, Yibeltal Aemero, accused on Monday many parties, he refused to name, of interfering and supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to fuel the conflict in his country.

In a press conference in Khartoum, the ambassador called on the international community and neighboring countries to exert pressure for bringing the Tigray Front to the peace negotiating table.

The ambassador confirmed that the Ethiopian Army had shot down last week a plane that crossed his country’s airspace from Sudan.
He spoke about a “well-known and immense external support” to the Tigray Front.

“This plane is evidence of an attempt to send weapons and ammunition to the TPLF by air,” he said.

Aemero stressed that his government calls on the international community and neighboring countries, which are negatively affected by the conflict, to put pressure on what he called “the terrorist Tigray Liberation Front,” and to force the group to sit down at the negotiating table, and stop the crimes it is committing against civilians.

He also said that Ethiopia is a great country that will not collapse as a result of external pressures or because of a rebellion group in a particular region.

The ambassador noted that his government does not want to engage in a third round of war despite the fact that the TPLF is not ready for negotiations.

He accused the group of setting preconditions to obstruct any solution to the crisis.

Aemero also accused the Tigray Front of recruiting underage children and sending them to the battlefields currently taking place in the Amhara and Afar regions in the north of the country.

“If the TPLF does not stop its crimes, the Ethiopian government will be forced to take appropriate measures to establish security and extend the hegemony of the state in all regions of the country,” he warned.

Fighting erupted between government forces and Tigrayan rebels in northern Ethiopia last Wednesday, shattering a five-month truce and dealing a blow to peace efforts.

Reports of fresh offensives were followed by Ethiopia’s air force announcing it had downed a plane carrying weapons for the TPLF.

The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the rebels have accused each other of undermining efforts to peacefully resolve the brutal 21-month war in Africa’s second most populous nation, and traded blame over who was responsible for returning to combat.

Separately, Aemero expressed his country’s readiness to negotiate with Sudan and Egypt on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) under the patronage of the African Union (AU).

“The third filling of the GERD had been successfully completed without harm to Sudan or negative effects on the two downstream countries,” he said.

Aemero added that Addis Ababa is convinced that all issues can be resolved through dialogue and negotiations.