Ethiopia aims to seize airports and other key infrastructure in the north of the country currently under the control of Tigray regional forces, the government said on Monday even as it stated it wanted a negotiated solution.
The Ethiopian government and its allies, who include neighbouring Eritrea’s army, have been fighting Tigray forces on and off since late 2020. The conflict has killed thousands of civilians, uprooted millions and left hundreds of thousands now facing possible famine.
“It is … imperative that the government of Ethiopia assumes immediate control of all airports, other federal facilities, and installations in the region,” the government communication service said in a statement.
While pursuing these objectives, it said, the government was committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict through African Union-led peace talks.
A spokesman for the Tigray forces, Getachew Reda, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Tigray authorities said on Sunday their forces would abide by an immediate truce and said a “humanitarian catastrophe” was unfolding.
The conflict stems from grievances rooted in periods of Ethiopia’s turbulent past when particular regional power blocs held sway over the country as a whole, and in tensions over the balance of power between the regions and the central state.
The latest flare-up began in August after months of ceasefire, with each side blaming the other. Peace talks proposed for earlier this month in South Africa were delayed with no new date announced.—Reuters