Ethiopian PM dispels rumors of secret peace talks with TPLF officials

ADDIS ABABA, June 15 (Xinhua) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has dismissed “rumours” of secret peace talks with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) officials.

Presenting a report to the Ethiopian parliament on Tuesday, Ahmed said rumors that he would hold peace talks with TPLF officials in countries like Australia and Nigeria are fairy tales.

“We say we want peace; however, this does not mean that we will conduct secret negotiations with TPLF, rumors of secret negotiations with TPLF have no substance,” Prime Minister Ahmed told Ethiopian MPs.

However, Ahmed said the Ethiopian government is committed to peace, suggesting that peace talks with TPLF are not quite off the agenda.

“If a victorious outcome can be achieved through peace, we will work to the utmost to bring peace,” Ahmed said. “We want peace with everyone, including TPLF, because we benefit from every peaceful day. It is not the elderly who die in the war, it is the young who could have worked otherwise.”

The TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Force, supported by allied forces, have been embroiled in a 19-month conflict that has reportedly killed tens of thousands of people and millions of others in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The Tigray conflict has also spilled over into the border areas of the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians and the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians.

The Ethiopian parliament designated the TPLF as a terrorist organization in May 2021.