June 20, 2024

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Ethiopia Tigray

Leaked Ethiopian Foreign Ministry document proposes talks to end Tigray conflict

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Ethiopia Foreign Ministry document

A 51-page document of the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry has been leaked. The document outlines a re-engagement strategy to repair fractures ties with the US and Western countries.

After the start of the Tigray conflict in November 2020, Ethiopian relations with the US and western countries deteriorated. EU and US accused Ethiopia of human rights abuses and deliberately blocking aid delivery to Tigray. The Ethiopian government reciprocated by labeling US and others as backers of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). US removed Ethiopia from AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) at the start of this year over human rights abuses.

After Tigray forces started their withdrawal from neighboring Amhara and Afar regions last month, Ethiopia-US relations saw an improvement. US President Joe Biden’s telephone conversation with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad, in the 2nd week of this month, was a clear indication that the two countries wanted to repair their bilateral ties.

The leaked document says that the Ethiopian government should talk to TPLF from a position of strength; Without dialogue, the conflict will go on with serious economic repercussions.

The document mentions the US desire to remove Eritrean ruler Isaias Afwerki from power. Eritrea is already under sanctions from the US and EU.

Sudan and Egypt are untrustworthy, the leaked paper claims. Sudan took advantage of the Tigray conflict and captured the long-standing disputed territory Al Fashaga on the Sudan Ethiopia border. Egypt and Sudan have been threatening Ethiopia against starting the 2nd filling of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). But despite threats, Ethiopia completed the 2nd filling in July last year.

It seems that the Ethiopian government is planning talks to end the Tigray conflict. But before the start of these talks, it wants to weaken Tigray militarily and economically through drone strikes and continuous siege.

Secondly, the government wants to pacify dissenting voices against the dialogue. Last month when the Ethiopian government released a few TPLF leaders, the move was criticized by some Amhara groups/individuals and diaspora members.

Those news outlets, which are critical of the government, have leaked this document. The leakage of the document could be an attempt to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to stop it from starting any dialogue with TPLF.