The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel in northern Ethiopia announced that it has given Addis Ababa a deadline to fulfill preconditions for negotiation or it will resort to war, rebel's senior official has said.
“If the Ethiopian government fails to respond to the TPLF demands and within the timeframe that TPLF gave [unspecified in the report], we will start the fighting,” Leader of the rebel force Debretsion Gebremichael, told local media on Monday.
Among the preconditions is the withdrawal of forces from what TPLF considers as “parts of Tigray” or western Tigray. It is a reference to Wolqait – a part of Gondar that the TPLF incorporated as part of Tigray after taking central government power in May 1991.
There had been identity questions for well over three decades in the region which the TPLF brutalized. Wolkait regained its identity as Amhara after the TPLF started the war in November 2020 when it attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defence Forces.
Tigary is part of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Federal government has a constitutional ground to deploy forces in any part of the country as needed.
The TPLF also demanded the resumption of basic services including banking, phone communication and power in a timeframe that it set – which it has not disclosed – perhaps due to military strategy as it has announced to start war right after the deadline.
On July 12 this year, the Ethiopian government announced that it has reached a deal with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to recover the Tigray region.
It is to be financed with $300 million funding from the World Bank (WB) and the agency will undertake the project until the situation in Tigray improves to a point where the Ethiopian government could take over.
There had been some reservations by voices skeptical of the UN organisation that it might actually seize the opportunity to plot with the TPLF against the interest of Ethiopia.