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Tigray rebels deny “direct links” with the Ethiopian government

#Tigray #rebels #deny #direct #links #Ethiopian #government

Tigrayan rebels on Saturday denied they had “direct appointments” with the Ethiopian government, following a statement by the African Union, which has led a push to end the 21-month conflict.

Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), said an AFP story citing an AU statement was “pure fabrication”.

“Such a commitment simply did not take place!” he said on Twitter.

In an Aug. 4 statement published on its website on Thursday, the AU Peace and Security Council said it “commends the AU High Representative for the direct ties between the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). )”.

But an updated version of the statement on the website has replaced the word “between” with “with,” and the original, published in both English and French, is no longer available.

AFP reached out to the PSC for comment, but there was no immediate response.

Government forces have been at war with the TPLF since November 2020, but in recent weeks both sides have been considering the possibility of peace talks.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government wants all negotiations to be conducted by the AU, but the rebels want Kenya’s outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta to mediate.

TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael has also insisted that vital services need to be restored in Tigray before dialogue can begin.

In its statement, the AU Council called on the warring factions to “put the highest interests of Ethiopia and its people above all else and welcome an inclusive political dialogue as the only viable approach to find an amicable solution to the current situation.”

It also called on international partners to support the AU-led mediation under former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo “as the only viable and effective approach to finding a durable negotiated solution to the situation in Ethiopia”.

Fighting in northern Ethiopia has eased since a humanitarian ceasefire was declared in late March, allowing much-needed international aid convoys to resume for Tigray’s six million people.

Since the outbreak of war, Ethiopia’s northernmost region has suffered from food shortages and severely restricted access to basic services such as electricity, communications and banking.

In November 2020, Abiy ordered troops into Tigray to overthrow the TPLF, accusing the rebels of attacking federal army camps.

The TPLF made a shock comeback in June last year, retaking Tigray and expanding into neighboring Afar and Amhara areas before the war stalled.

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