Accessibility links

Breaking News

Ethiopian Authorities Remove Terrorist Label From Tigrayan Party

FILE - A fighter loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) mans a guard post on the outskirts of the town of Hawzen, then-controlled by the group but later re-taken by government forces, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 7, 2021.

Ethiopian lawmakers voted in a special session Wednesday to remove the terrorist designation given to the Tigray People's Liberation Front, or TPLF.

Lawmakers in the lower house approved the move by a majority vote. Out of 472 members, 61 voted against the move and five abstained.

The decision is the latest step in an African Union-brokered peace deal in November between Ethiopia's federal government and the TPLF that ended a two-year civil war.

Ethiopia's federal government labeled the TPLF a terrorist organization in May 2021, a few months before war broke out between forces loyal to each side.

The war left thousands of people dead and displaced millions more.

The peace deal saw Tigrayan forces handing over heavy weapons to the federal government, which has in turn opened aid corridors and resumed essential services to the region.

As part of the deal, an interim administration has been set up in the area until elections can be held.

Getachew Reda, who was picked by the TPLF to lead the Interim Regional Administration, was one of scores of Tigrayan officials previously charged with terrorism under the designation.

Ethiopian media reports say those charges are also expected to be lifted.

A TPLF spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

Rights groups have accused all the warring sides, including Eritrean and regional Amhara forces, of committing war crimes during the conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Ethiopia in early March, on Monday condemned atrocities allegedly committed by all sides in the conflict and welcomed commitments to pursue transitional justice.

The Ethiopian government rejected Blinken's statement, saying it was inflammatory and untimely.