ADDIS ABABA – Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen has briefed Addis Ababa-based ambassadors on Friday about his government’s rationale to declare a unilateral ceasefire in the Tigray region.
Demeke, who is also the foreign minister of Ethiopia, described the decision as bold and magnanimous that would benefit the people of Tigray.
The Deputy FM said, although the government’s declaration for the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire took many by surprise, it was not taken abruptly, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry after the meeting.
“We needed to take into account that the planting season ahead should not be disrupted; missing it will have grave consequences for the livelihoods of farmers in the region,” Demeke said.
“That is why we decided to declare the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in order to address these challenges and ensure that all farmers in the region are able to plant during this farming season,” he said.
“Our hope is that this will facilitate better humanitarian access and also help in scaling up support,” he told the envoys as well as representatives of international institutions.
According to the FM, the current administration of Ethiopia, if elected, was contemplating the importance of declaring a ceasefire and holding an inclusive dialogue with relevant stakeholders after the election, including innocent members of the TPLF.
In this regard, Demeke said the international community should push with a concerted effort for the realization of the humanitarian ceasefire and urge the other side to abide by it.
The briefing took place on a day the government said the federal defence force is mobilizing a vehicle-launched armoured bridge to install over the River Tekeze.
The Tekeze bridge, key for delivering humanitarian aid operations in the region, was destroyed on Wednesday.
Authorities accuse TPLF militias of blowing up the structure and said it aimed at blocking access to federal troops and to force aid organisations to airdrop, with less scrutiny for their cargoes.