(Source: Responsible Statecraft ) –
Apparent recognition by Prime Minister Abiy that his forces cannot defeat the Tigrayans is moving the parties toward the negotiating table.
For six months the war between the Federal Government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray region and its ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, has been in stalemate. Neither can defeat the other, and, it appears, each no longer has the ambition to try to do so. Since early May, stories have been circulating about secret talks between them.
On June 14, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spoke to Parliament and said he wanted peace — pointedly adding “just because we want peace does not mean that we are doing secret negotiations.” It was a rambling address, part sermon, part chastisement, and part revisiting his grand vision of Ethiopia’s future greatness, symbolized by his lavish spending on beautifying the capital city with pleasure parks and palaces, and he repeated the point that he would keep the parliamentarians informed. It was grist to the rumor mill that he had been doing the opposite.
The key point in Abiy’s speech was that he was setting up a committee, headed by his deputy prime minister and foreign minister Demeke Mekonnen, to investigate whether peace with Tigray is possible.