Addis Ababa, Aug 18 (IANS): The Ethiopian government announced that it is seeking to conclude peace talks and reach a ceasefire agreement with Tigray forces "as soon as possible".
According to the announcement on Wednesday, the Main Peace Committee, established to resolve the ongoing conflict in the northern part of the country, emphasised "the imperative of alleviating the suffering of citizens" in the Tigray, Afar and Amhara states, reports dpa news agency.
The committee said that in order to ensure the provision of humanitarian aid and facilitate the resumption of basic services, a ceasefire agreement would have to be concluded "as soon as possible".
Tigray officials have in the past stated that they would not accept conditions imposed on them in this regard and have also cast doubt on planned talks led by the African Union.
Services, such as telecommunications and electricity, had been cut in the Tigray region where fighting broke out in November 2020 between the government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front.
According to Human Rights Watch, the war has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, has forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes and has left at least 2.3 million in need of assistance.
Meanwhile, in the Oromia region, the Oromo Liberation Army, which has also been battling the government and is listed by Ethiopia as a terrorist group, has proposed a "humanitarian truce" to allow for food aid.
Ethiopia, like other countries in the Horn of Africa, is experiencing severe drought due to low rainfall over a number of seasons.
The government, however, has denied deaths from starvation.