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Watch: TPLF Spokesman Admits Group Was Directed by US to ‘Take Control of’ Ethiopian Capital

© Sputnik ScreenshotTigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) spokesperson Getachew Reda in a December 8, 2021, interview with Ethiopia's Tigray TV.
Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) spokesperson Getachew Reda in a December 8, 2021, interview with Ethiopia's Tigray TV. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
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In a recent interview on Tigray TV, a spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said the group, categorized as a terrorist organization in Ethiopia, was directed by the US to seize power. Publicly, Washington has maintained a position of neutrality on the conflict.
“China’s intention is clear so I understand it. Whereas, the intention of the Americans is for us to enter Addis,” TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda told Tigray TV’s Dimsti Woyane on December 8, according to a translation from Tigrinya by the Ethiopian outlet Borkena.
“Some European countries also have similar interest. But they told us to forge an alliance with different groups to avoid chaos when our forces take control of Addis,” he added.
“America’s concern is ridiculous and transactional. It looks like the Americans couldn’t make up their mind about us capturing Addis Ababa. There are interest groups who want Abiy to continue putting the country up for sale, and who do not want him to stop selling the country’s indispensable resources recklessly.”
In a statement given to the US state media Voice of America’s Amharic-language service on Monday, the US Department of State denied Getachew’s comments, saying the US “has never encouraged the TPLF to expand its military operations or enter Addis Ababa.”

Getachew’s comments further confirm the contents of a video filmed on November 21 of a Zoom meeting between numerous American and European diplomats and Berhane Gebre-christos, a longtime TPLF official who served numerous diplomatic and ministerial roles during the TPLF’s 27 years in power, including a 10-year posting as ambassador to Washington, DC, and two years as Ethiopia’s foreign minister.

As Sputnik reported, the Western diplomats praised the TPLF’s gains and floated various scenarios about how Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the country’s first democratically-elected leader, might be forced to step down.
“I hope that you’ll have military success fairly soon, because it seems as if the situation is only becoming more drastic,” Vicki Huddleston, the former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for African Affairs and US assistant secretary of state for Africa, told Berhane. “Abiy should step down, there should be an all-inclusive transition government.”
The secretive meeting occurred under the auspices of a TPLF-connected think tank set up with financial backing from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which is part of the US State Department, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA front group used to funnel support to US-aligned groups.
US Stays Neutral in Public
Despite the revelations, Washington has continued to maintain an official image of neutrality. A Sunday statement by the US Department of State urged both the TPLF and Abiy’s government to begin a peaceful dialogue “without preconditions” and to launch inquiries into alleged human rights violations by the TPLF in Afar and Amhara.
"The United States reiterates our support for diplomacy as the first, last, and only option to cease hostilities, just as we call for an end to human rights abuses and violations; negotiations without preconditions; unhindered humanitarian access; and the start to inclusive national dialogue," the statement read.
Over the last 13 months, since the conflict began, the US has sanctioned both the Ethiopian government and its Eritrean allies for allegations of using denial of food aid as a weapon against the rebels and actions “that have contributed to the crisis and conflict, which have undermined the stability and integrity of the Ethiopian state." However, similar punishments have not been meted out against the TPLF, despite evidence suggesting they seized hundreds of aid trucks belonging to the UN World Food Program that were intended for Tigrayan civilians.
© REUTERS / Kumera GemechuA farmer walks past a military tank destroyed recently during fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in Damot Kebele of Amhara region, Ethiopia December 7, 2021. Picture taken December 7, 2021.
A  farmer walks past a military tank destroyed recently during fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in Damot Kebele of Amhara region, Ethiopia December 7, 2021. Picture taken December 7, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
A farmer walks past a military tank destroyed recently during fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in Damot Kebele of Amhara region, Ethiopia December 7, 2021. Picture taken December 7, 2021.
The TPLF ruled Ethiopia for 27 years, during which time it constructed a federal system to control the country’s dozens of other ethnicities and moved most of its military and industries into the northern Tigray state. During that time, Ethiopia cooperated closely with the US War on Terror and the newly formed US Africa Command, providing facilities and troops that were key to advancing US interests on the continent, such as the 2006 invasion of Somalia that overthrew the Islamic Courts Union government. They also waged a devastating war against Eritrea, which had recently won independence from Ethiopia, that cost more than 120,000 lives.
Rebels Seek Return to Dominance
Abiy came to power in 2018 after the TPLF’s allied ethnic parties rejected another TPLF candidate and selected him, an Oromo, instead. While he has continued cooperation with the US, Abiy has also weakened the TPLF’s dominating position in Ethiopian politics with centralizing political reforms, and he signed a peace treaty with Eritrea that won him a Nobel Peace Prize. Under his government, the country has also continued its drift toward China, penning a number of infrastructure projects with Chinese firms and buying Chinese-made weapons.
The conflict began in November 2020, when TPLF forces attacked Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) units, which had been deployed in the northern Tigray state in response to an illegal election being held in violation of a national postponement of elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the ENDF quickly seized the capital of Mekelle, the TPLF regrouped in the countryside and counterattacked, driving government forces out of Tigray and launching their own offensive into neighboring Amhara and Afar states in July.
The TPLF’s southern advance along Highway 2 toward Addis Ababa was stalled in November about 190 kilometers away from the capital city, and a counterattack by the ENDF has pushed the TPLF back by hundreds of kilometers.
The UN estimates that more than 4 million people have been displaced by the conflict, with more than 70,000 crossing the border into Sudan, creating a massive humanitarian crisis. The WFP estimates 9.4 million Ethiopians are in need of food assistance.
The UN Human Rights Council is set to hold a special session on Ethiopia on Friday morning. However, not a single African nation has been invited to the proceedings, and all 13 African states on the council voted against the motion to hold the special session.
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