By Hannatu Sadiq
Ethiopia’s government has announced a ceasefire in Tigray as Tigrayan troops retook the regions capital – Mekelle.
While announcing the ceasefire, the federal government said it would last until the end of the current “farming season” and was intended to facilitate agricultural production and aid distribution while allowing rebel fighters “to return to a peaceful road”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday said he had spoken with the north African President Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, and was “hopeful that an effective cessation of hostilities will take place”.
He commented on the recent events in Tigray to be “extremely worrisome” saying they “demonstrate, once again, that there is no military solution to the crisis”.
Britain, the United States, and Ireland have called for an emergency UN Security Council public meeting, which could happen on Friday, according to diplomatic sources.
The Security Council has failed to hold a public session on Tigray since the war erupted, with many African countries, China, Russia and other nations deeming the crisis an internal Ethiopian affair.
Throughout the fighting, Abiy has benefitted from the military backing of soldiers from neighboring Eritrea and Ethiopia’s Amhara region, which borders Tigray to the south.
An analyst with the risk consultancy Eurasia Group, Connor Vasey, believes these forces’ involvement “will complicate a blanket application of a temporary ceasefire, which so far appears to be a mostly unilateral move by the federal government”.
Should discussions on a possible political settlement actually go ahead, they “are likely to be difficult and protracted”, Vasey said.
The rebels launched an offensive last week, just as much of the rest of the country was holding highly anticipated national elections, the results of which have not yet been announced.