Ethiopia: News - Crisis Group Urges Ethiopian Govt to Engage in Negotiations to Resolve Escalating Conflict in Amhara Region

A regional map of Ethiopia.

Addis Abeba — A recent report from the International Crisis Group has urged the Ethiopian government to initiate peace negotiations as a means to resolve the escalating conflict in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

The report highlights that the government is confronted with a significant security threat posed by an armed insurgency that has emerged in the Amhara region. To effectively address this unrest, the International Crisis Group calls upon authorities to directly tackle the underlying grievances fueling the conflict.

According to the think tank organization, the fighting in the Amhara region originates from a complex interplay of grievances among Ethiopia's major ethnic groups, which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has struggled to adequately address since assuming office in 2018.

The Crisis Group traces the roots of the conflict back to a peace agreement in late 2022, which marked the end of the war in the neighboring Tigray region. However, many individuals in the Amhara region who had fought alongside federal forces against Tigrayan rebels felt betrayed by the peace pact. Tensions escalated as the federal government attempted to assert control over Amhara militias that had mobilized during the Tigray war.

The report also warns that the conflict in the Amhara region further complicates other unresolved crises facing Prime Minister Abiy. Notably, an insurgency is ongoing in Ethiopia's largest Oromia region, reconciliation in Tigray remains fragile, and relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea are deteriorating due to a dispute over port access.

Moreover, the report highlights how the conflict has exacerbated existing tensions between the Amhara and the dominant Oromo ethnic groups. Many people in Amhara now argue that the federal authorities have failed to curb attacks against Amhara civilians allegedly carried out by Oromo militants in neighboring areas.

William Davison, the senior analyst for Ethiopia at the Crisis Group, emphasized the difficulty of unraveling Ethiopia's complex web of longstanding disputes. He stressed the need for Prime Minister Abiy to develop both short-term and long-term strategies to effectively address the challenges he currently faces.

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