The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, on Tuesday called for a dialogue process to resolve the conflict and restore peace in the country after more than a year of war with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF).
“In a civil war there is no total victory. If one side wins a battle and the other side is temporarily defeated, it’s a temporary victory. The defeated side will rise and attack,” he explained.
He therefore defended the need to promote the national dialogue process and stressed that “the Ethiopian people will make the final decisions” in an extraordinary appearance before Parliament to address the situation in the country.
“Negotiation is a method of identifying options for solving problems. We were betrayed while trying to rebuild because we realized Tigray is a part of our country,” he said, according to Ethiopian TV channel Fana.
In this sense, he stressed that there had been no negotiations with the TPLF so far, although he does not rule out future negotiations, before arguing that “true victory requires a victory at the altar of peace”.
“This decision helped Ethiopia a lot. We must not compromise decisions for the lasting good of the country,” he said, while defending the recent release of opponents “to achieve lasting peace” and “consolidate victory.”
On the other hand, he has denounced the increase in fighting in the Afar region bordering Tigray and accused the TPLF of resuming its offensives. “To alleviate the situation, the Ethiopian government is working closely with the Afar regional authorities,” he concluded.
Abiy’s speech came just a day after Ethiopia’s parliament approved the appointment of members of the national dialogue commission to try to resolve the grave political crisis the country is going through.
Ethiopian authorities announced on December 24 that they would not launch any further advances against the TPLF in Tigray, following an offensive that allowed the government in previous weeks to retake areas controlled by the group in the Amhara and Afar regions .
The conflict in Ethiopia erupted in November 2020 following a TPLF attack on the army’s main base in Mekelle, prompting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to order an offensive against the group after months of political and administrative tensions.
The TPLF has accused Abiy of stoking tensions since taking office in April 2018, when he became the first Oromo to take office. Until then, the TPLF had been the dominant force within the ethnically based coalition that had governed Ethiopia since 1991, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The group opposed Abiy’s reforms, seeing them as an attempt to undermine his influence.