The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have agreed to permanently end hostilities. This will end a grinding war that has seen thousands killed, millions displaced and millions more in dire need of food aid. is an important step for
“To permanently silence guns and end the two-year conflict in northern Ethiopia,” the two sides said in a joint statement Wednesday night after delegations shook hands.
Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels will eventually be disarmed and demobilized, the statement said. “Given the security situation on the ground, we have also agreed on a detailed program of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of TPLF fighters.”
The deal was first announced by the African Union (AU) High Representative for the Horn of Africa and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at a media briefing in Pretoria following more than a week of AU-led negotiations.
Obasanjo said “organized, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament, restoration of services, unhindered access to humanitarian aid, protection of civilians, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups”. will be done.
The AU’s high-level partners will be tasked with “monitoring, overseeing and enforcing,” he added, without elaborating.
“This is not the end of the peace process, it is the beginning,” Obasanjo said.
The peace process has so far been unsuccessful. In September, troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray region said they were ready to observe an immediate ceasefire and embrace an African Union-led peace process to end a nearly two-year conflict with federal forces.
However, hostilities escalated again from the beginning of October.
On October 17, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for an immediate end to the fighting in Tigray, saying the situation was “getting out of control”.
“Violence and destruction have reached alarming levels. Social structures are being torn apart,” UN Secretary-General Guterres told reporters.
Mr Guterres stressed the “horrible” toll on Ethiopian civilians since hostilities resumed in August, with hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes, many of them 2 Said it was the second time.
He also said the United Nations had received “disturbing reports of sexual violence and other atrocities against women, children and men.” CNN previously reported on evidence that sexual violence was used as a deliberate weapon of war in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia.
Guterres said 13 million Ethiopians are in need of food and assistance in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions before hostilities resume, with aid delivery suspended for more than seven weeks. rice field. According to Guterres, in the case of Tigray, they were completely stopped.
“The level of need is staggering,” Guterres said.
It was the first time the two warring parties met publicly since the conflict erupted when new peace talks began on 24 October. These talks took place amid renewed heavy fighting in Tigray, where Ethiopian forces had taken positions.
In a statement on Wednesday, TPLF chief representative Getachew Reda acknowledged that thousands of combatants and civilians on both sides have died in recent days since hostilities resumed, acknowledging that the peace deal will be implemented as soon as possible. emphasized the importance of
“We made concessions because we needed to build trust to deal with the pain of the public,” he said.
He urged the international community to support a ceasefire to avoid a recurrence of fighting.
In a separate statement, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also congratulated the conclusion of the talks, saying, “Our commitment to peace is unwavering. And our commitment to working together to implement the agreement is equally strong.” .”
Abiy also invited international partners to help rebuild conflict-affected areas in the north.
Correction: Article has been updated to clarify the plans for demobilization of the Tiglayan rebels presented in the agreement.