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Ethiopia accepts call for immediate cease-fire in Tigray


NAIROBI, Kenya (AP):- Ethiopia’s government says it has “positively accepted” a call for an immediate, unilateral cease-fire in its Tigray region after nearly eight months of deadly conflict and as hundreds of thousands of people face the world’s worst famine crisis in a decade.

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 cease-fire on humanitarian grounds so that desperately needed aid can be delivered.

Ethiopia says the cease-fire 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 6 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.

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