Tigray rebels accept ceasefire 'in principle'

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jul 04, 2021, 06:51 PM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )

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Ethiopia had announced ceasefire last Monday but it was denounced as a "joke" by the rebels

Rebels in Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray region accepted a ceasefire "in principle" on Sunday. However, they have set strict conditions to formalise the ceasefire.

The rebels are demanding withdrawal of Eritrean fighters and fighters from neighbouring Ethiopian region (Amhara) from Tigray. Both these groups are helping Ethiopian army.

Tigray region has seen fierce fighting for last many months after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent army to topple dissident Tigray authorities.

The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner accused them of orchestrating attacks on Ethiopian military bases. 

After early successes and a premature declaration of victory, government forces were bogged down in a vicious and months-long battle with pro-TPLF fighters -- the Tigray Defence Forces, or TDF. The Ethiopian army was backed by troops from the neighbouring Amhara region and the army of Eritrea, which borders Tigray.

On Monday, the TDF recaptured Mekele, held by the Ethiopian army since 28 November. 

The government in Addis Ababa immediately declared a unilateral ceasefire, but this was swiftly derided as a "joke" by the rebel forces, which vowed to continue fighting.

Now the rebels have agreed to a ceasefire in principle but another of their conditions is the restoration of what Addis Ababa considers the rebel government in Tigray.

The United Nations and numerous government have called for a ceasefire to be respected, especially to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilian populations.

"As long as we have a foolproof guarantee that the security of our people will not be compromised by a second round of invasions, we accept a ceasefire in principle," a statement signed by the "government of Tigray" said on Sunday. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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