Tigray rebels agree to "indefinite humanitarian truce" with Ethiopian Government
25 March 2022
Ethiopia’s government declared an “indefinite humanitarian truce” on Thursday to expedite the delivery of emergency aid into Tigray, according to a statement issued by Ethiopia's Communication Service.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government said it hoped the move would ease humanitarian access to Tigray and "pave the way for the resolution of the conflict" in northern Ethiopia, calling on the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) to “desist from all acts of further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighboring regions.”
The following day, Tigrayan rebel forces responded by agreeing to the ceasefire “under the right circumstances”, marking a turning point in the nearly 17-month civil war over Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray region.
“The government of Tigray will do everything it can to make sure that this cessation of hostilities is a success,” read an announcement by the Tigray External Affairs Office.
“We call on the Ethiopian authorities to go beyond empty promises and take concrete steps to facilitate unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray.”
Since the war in northern Ethiopia began in November 2020, thousands of people have died and more than 2 million have been forced to flee their homes.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is from Tigray, has described the situation as "catastrophic".
In January, an estimated 40% of Tigrayans were suffering from what the WFP called "an extreme lack of food", and the organization also found that half of all pregnant and breastfeeding women in the region were malnourished.
The ceasefire has been welcomed by the United States and France, as well as the European Union and the United Nations.
Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesperson, told reporters that Secretary-General António Guterres hoped the truce would be “respected by all parties in this conflict, to allow for effective humanitarian access for all who need it.”
According to the United Nations, at least 100 humanitarian lorries are needed to transport aid every day to the region.
Writer: Ainhoa Petri-Hidalgo
Photo Credits: Bloomberg