Armed forces of Ethiopia capture areas in Tigray
Noriko Watanabe and Kanako Mita
Modern Tokyo Times
Ethiopia and Tigray are still fighting on the battlefield. Hence, with several towns falling to Ethiopia and the allies of the central government, it seems that Tigray is in a weakening position. However, the conflict does ebb and flow between both sides.
The Ethiopian government information network said, “The ENDF (Ethiopian National Defence Force) has taken control of the towns of Shire, Alamata, and Korem without fighting in urban areas.”
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) confirmed last month that it was open to peace talks with Ethiopia through the channels of the African Union (AU). However, the fear is that if one side on the battlefield is in a strengthened position, then peace talks will be brushed aside. Therefore, fresh fighting might unravel this light of hope.
A senior analyst concerning Ethiopia at the International Crisis Group, William Davison, said, “Shire is the second-largest city in Tigray and strategic as it’s at a crossroads, potentially making it easier to advance towards Axum and Adwa…It also has a major road south leading from it. So it’s a strategic and psychological boost (for the Eritrean and Ethiopian federal forces)…”
Reuters reports, “The United Nations, the European Union and several senior U.S. government officials have all called for an immediate ceasefire, for the launch of African Union-sponsored talks and for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia.”
Lee Jay Walker says, “All parties to the conflict need to enter negotiations in good faith. Ethiopia needs peace in Tigray and other parts of the country blighted by ethnic and political tensions. Therefore, a mutually amicable agreement is needed to end this bloody war – based on genuine concessions by each side.”
Ethiopia and Tigray need to solve the crisis outside the specter of the ongoing brutal war – where vast numbers have been killed and uprooted. Ethiopia and its allies might believe they can crush Tigrayan forces. However, history points to a protracted war in a nation already blighted by poverty and many ethnic issues. Therefore, statecraft at this critical moment is essential.
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