TPLF: We’re ready to leave past behind us

A senior figure in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has told BBC News that the rebel group is “ready to address political problems in a peaceful and political manner”.

Getachew Reda was speaking as the TPLF and Ethiopia’s federal government are working out the implementation of a deal signed earlier this month ending hostilities in the two-year-long civil war.

Talking to the Hardtalk programme’s Stephen Sackur from the city of Mekelle in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, Mr Reda said that the TPLF “will be willing to hand over heavy weapons and heavy armaments as long as the security interests of Tigray are taken care of”.

“We are ready to leave the past behind us to make sure our people get the kind of respite they so richly deserve after the suffering (of) the last two years,” Mr Reda said.

The conflict has led to thousands of deaths and a humanitarian crisis in the north of the country.The Ethiopian government and representatives from the TPLF signed up to a disarmament plan and commitment to restore services to the region.

The plan should allow aid to reach millions in urgent need of assistance. In August, the World Food Programme said more than five million people in the region faced severe hunger.

Negotiations between the federal government and the TPLF began in South Africa on October 25, as the latter’s military defeat appears imminent. The civil war in Ethiopia started after the TPLF attacked a federal army base in November 2020.

The African Union (AU)-led peace negotiations between the Ethiopian federal government and the US-backed TPLF, which were scheduled to begin in South Africa on Monday, began in on Tuesday, October 25. 

Representatives of both the TPLF and the Ethiopian federal government arrived in South Africa’s executive capital, Pretoria, on Monday. The negotiations will reportedly be mediated by the AU chairperson’s High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, South Africa’s former Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and former Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta.  –BBC

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