Ethiopia's parliament has agreed to remove a terrorist designation for Tigray's rebel group following a ceasefire that came into effect four months ago after a two-year war that killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Politicians approved the resolution based on the November 2 agreement, state media reported on Wednesday. Most of Ethiopia’s 547 lawmakers voted to remove the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) from the terrorism list, with 61 objections and five abstentions, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The removal will be a “very good step in moving the peace agreement forward", senior TPLF official Kindeya Gebrehiwot said.
The move paves the way for the establishment of an interim government.
The TPLF and the Oromo Liberation Army were designated terrorist groups in May 2021 by the House of People’s Representatives after a war broke out between the groups and the government in the northern Tigray region.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopian politics for almost 30 years before Nobel Peace Prize winner Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018, two year before the conflict broke out.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ethiopia, where he met government and TPLF officials and announced a $331 million humanitarian assistance package.
Ethiopia accused the TPLF of starting the conflict by attacking an army base in Tigray, while the TPLF accused the federal government of preparing to strike first.
The peace agreement signed in November has led to the return of communications, banking and other basic services cut to the Tigray region of more than five million people. Ethiopia now faces a post-conflict reconstruction bill of $20 billion.
The US this week said it had determined that all sides in the conflict committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry criticised the US statement, branding it "selective" and "inflammatory".