If peace dialogues between the federal government and the Tigray regional government seemed close two weeks ago, a tweet by Samuel Gebru – a Tigrinya-American activist – re-released by Getachew Reda, the TPLF spokesperson, thins hopes like this, “people should stop saying that peace dialogues between Ethiopia and Tigray are imminent. No one knows what is going on. There is not even agreement on the mediator. The international partners understand that an AU (African Union)-led effort is not contemplated, but Abiy prefers Obasanjo.”
If there is anything certain about the situation on the ground, it is that the difficulties are increasing today. The offensive of the OLA (the armed wing of the Oromo liberation movement, OLF) and the resurrected GLF (Gambella Liberation Front), which recently announced an alliance, in the Gambella region and the Oromia region is gaining ground. A nighttime curfew has been imposed in Gambella City, the region’s capital, since July 15, and recent attacks with more than 200 casualties in Oromia are two indicators that the conflict in the south is increasing in intensity.
The good news is that the renewed tension with Sudan, which escalated into a series of violent clashes late last month, is being resolved thanks to the dialogue between Abiy Ahmed and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan initiated last July 6, although there is still no further news on the matter.
The food situation also with the arrival of the rainy season may deteriorate further. Earlier this month 13 children died in the south of the country, and today the FAO warns that this planting season will be crucial, especially for Tigray. In fact, the region lacks necessary seeds and fertilizer, and the FAO says that “it is highly unlikely that the region will be able to produce enough food without the necessary fertilizer and seeds, thus extending the famine season into next year.” Indeed, the humanitarian aid that has arrived in the region is sufficient to cover some of today’s needs, but if this year’s harvests are as poor as predicted by the FAO and the region is still stranded, the likelihood that the TPLF elite will again opt for the military solution increases significantly.