Ethiopia to Talk With Tigray Leaders Only Once Weapons Destroyed

Ethiopia said dialog with the restive Tigray region will only be possible once all its military equipment has been destroyed and key members of the regional government brought to justice as fighting that erupted almost a week ago appears to be intensifying.

“There will be dialog, that’s inevitable, but the question is when,” Redwan Hussein, the state minister for foreign affairs, told reporters in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Tuesday. “When is when these objective are met, once we destroy these armaments.”

Redwan, who is also the spokesperson for the newly established State of Emergency task force also provided several details about the scale and scope of the violence in Ethiopia, which erupted almost a week ago after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused forces belonging to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front of attacking several federal military bases in the north of the country.

TPLF forces had amassed in the southeast of the region, a key area with a main road that leads to the regional capital Mekele, Redwan said. Diplomats and security officials have told Bloomberg of a large build-up of troops in that area, with federal forces strongly present inside the Afar region.

Federal forces were initially pushed back into Eritrea and were now carrying out a counter-offensive, and could soon retake the town of Shiraro on the border with Eritrea, he said. “On the northern part, they attacked some of the regiments and they had to retreat and even cross to Eritrea,” he said. “But now they have regrouped and they are now coming back to engage in an offensive.”

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