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Iran Press TV

Ethiopian PM says Eritrea agreed to withdraw troops from border region

Iran Press TV

Friday, 26 March 2021 1:13 PM

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says Eritrea has greed to pull out its troops from border regions in Ethiopia, days after he admitted that the foreign forces were present in the country's northern region of Tigray.

"Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its forces out of the Ethiopian border," the prime minister said in a statement on Twitter on Friday.

He made the announcement a day after arriving in Eritrea's capital, Asmara, to meet President Isaias Afwerki.

Abiy said that the Ethiopian National Defense Force would take over the guarding of the border area immediately.

Eritrean authorities have not made a comment about the withdrawal, yet.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said in a report on Wednesday that Eritrean troops had committed "grave violations of human rights" during an almost five-month-long civil strife in Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray.

Tigray descended into conflict in November last year when government troops were deployed to fight forces loyal to the regional leadership of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which had earlier attacked government posts.

Abiy, who had previously denied the involvement of Eritrean forces in the Tigray conflict, eventually acknowledged on Tuesday that troops from the neighboring country had been present in Tigray.

Reuters claimed that hundreds of soldiers in Eritrean uniforms had been seen in vehicles with Eritrean plates in large towns and along the main road between Tigray's regional capital, Mekelle, and the city of Shire.

Reports of alleged massacre, torture, and gang rapes of women by Eritrean troops prompted reactions from the international community.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for Eritean forces to leave Tigray. Blinken described the purported actions carried out in the region as "ethnic cleansing." Ethiopia denied that allegation.

The United Nations (UN) also said last week that it would work with the EHRC to investigate reports of the indiscriminate killing of civilians and widespread sexual abuse.

The conflict in Tigray has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in the mountainous region.

Before the conflict broke out in the region, Tigray had been home to around 5.5 million people, according to UN estimates. That figure included more than 100,000 internally displaced persons and 96,000 refugees from Eritrea.

Many people displaced by the violence have sought refuge in neighboring Sudan.

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