ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s rebellious Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has set several preconditions for its withdrawal from areas in Afar region where atrocities have been reported against civilians by international and local aid organizations.
As of recent, regional and international community urged TPLF to withdraw from some areas it occupies from Afar and the Amhara regions. This demand has also been echoed by the government in Addis Ababa which had halted advance on Tigray mainland last year.
In a statement, TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda said the group’s leadership is committed to withdrawal from Afar regions, but this would be on the condition that certain demands set by the Ethiopian rebel group are met.
“The Government of Tigray is committed to a peaceful resolution of the current conflict. Our forces’ presence in Afar has essentially been about neutralizing a clear and present security threat and in principle we are committed to further withdrawal of Tigray forces from Afar territory as long as some conditions are fulfilled,” he wrote in a tweet.
The outspoken rebel official said for withdrawal to be done, “there must be secure corridors for the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to the people of Tigray” as well as a “system in place to facilitate the provision of sustained, unfettered, timely & adequate humanitarian assistance.”
“The issue of humanitarian aid delivery should not be reduced to whether or not some trucks arrive in Tigray on a particular day. Rather, the issue is whether or not there is a system in place to facilitate regular, sufficient and unfettered aid flow into Tigray.”
He said that “The delivery of aid into Tigray should not be treated as an act of charity to be turned on and off according to Ethiopian authorities’ whims” and said that “the abhorrent blockade of Tigray must be lifted, and essential socioeconomic services restored.”
He further said that “the implementation of these conditions must be verified by an impartial international entity, such as the United Nations, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders.”