Body formed to negotiate with Tigray forces – Abiy Ahmed

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Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Tuesday the federal government had formed a committee to negotiate with the northern Tigray region’s forces.

Fighting erupted in Tigray in November 2020 and spilt over into the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara last year, but it has eased since the federal government declared a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in March.

“Regarding the peace, a committee has been established. Negotiation needs a lot of work. A committee has been established and it will study how we will conduct talks,” Abiy told parliament.

It is the first time Abiy has made information about the committee public.

He said Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen was leading the committee, which will have 10 to 15 days to work on finer details of what will be negotiated.

The war between the national government forces and its allies and those loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has upset government plans to modernise the economy and has deterred some foreign investors.

Tigray’s leaders accuse Abiy of wanting to centralise power at the expense of the regions.

He accuses them of wanting to regain national power, which they lost to him after he was appointed in 2018.

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