ADDIS ABABA – Eritrea has acknowledged for the first time its forces are taking part in the months-long war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region and promised to pull them out.
The admission of Eritrea’s role in the fighting came in a letter posted online late on Friday by the country’s information minister, written by its ambassador to the United Nations and addressed to the Security Council.
For months, the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments denied Eritreans were involved.
Last month, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confirmed their presence and said Eritrea has agreed to pull out its forces from Ethiopian territories along the border.
With the TPLF “largely thwarted”, Asmara and Addis Ababa “have agreed – at the highest levels – to embark on the withdrawal of the Eritrean forces and the simultaneous redeployment of Ethiopian contingents along the international boundary” said Eritrea in the letter.
On Nov. 4 last year, Ethiopia launched a sweeping law enforcement operation against the forces of the hitherto all-powerful Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), now outlawed, after the latter stormed the Ethiopian federal army command stationed in Tigray, killing soldiers and looting sizable military hardware.
On Nov. 28, Abiy declared the military engagement over after the fall of the regional capital Mekele to the federal army. But sporadic fighting reportedly continued in the region.