Ethiopia government declares 'immediate truce' to allow aid into Tigray

Ethiopia government declares 'immediate truce' to allow aid into Tigray
Ethiopia's government on Thursday declared 'an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately', saying it hoped to help hasten the delivery of emergency aid into the Tigray region where hundreds of thousands face starvation.
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Since war broke out in November 2020, thousands have died and many more have been forced to flee their homes as the conflict escalated [source: Getty]

Ethiopia's government on Thursday declared an immediate truce with rebellious Tigrayan forces to allow aid into the war-ravaged northern province.

A spokesman for the Tigrayan forces did not respond to a request for comment on the announcement, which follows a visit by the US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, to the capital Addis Ababa this week.

More than 90 percent of 5.5 million Tigrayans need food aid, according to the United Nations, but only a tiny trickle has entered since Ethiopian troops withdrew from Tigray at the end of June last year.

The 16-month-old conflict has pitted Tigray’s rulers – the Tigray People’s Liberation Front - against the central government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

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"The government of Ethiopia hopes that this truce will substantially improve the humanitarian situation on the ground and pave the way for the resolution of the conflict in the northern Ethiopia without further bloodshed," the government said in a statement.

Tigrayan leaders have blamed central and regional authorities for blocking aid into Tigray.

The central government said Tigrayan fighters have blocked the aid because they have invaded a neighbouring region along the only land route currently open into Tigray.