Ethiopia’s government says it has “positively accepted” a call for an immediate, unilateral ceasefire in the Tigray region.
The statement, carried by state media, came shortly after the Tigray interim administration – appointed by the federal government – fled the regional capital, Mekele, and called for a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds so that desperately needed aid can be delivered.
Ethiopia says the ceasefire will last until the end of the crucial planting season in Tigray. The season’s end comes in September.
“The government has the responsibility to find a political solution to the problem,” the head of the interim administration, Abraham Belay, said, adding that some elements within Tigray’s former ruling party are willing to engage with the federal government.
The region in recent days has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict, and some Mekele residents cheered the arrival of Tigray forces.
Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict as Ethiopian and allied forces pursue Tigray’s former leaders and their supporters, and as humanitarian groups plead for more access to the region of six million people.
International pressure on Ethiopia spiked again last week after a military airstrike on a busy market in Tigray killed more than 60 people.