Parties in Ethiopia’s conflict agree to start implementing truce

Parties in Ethiopia’s conflict agree to start implementing truce


Parties in Ethiopia’s conflict agree to start implementing truce

The Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces on Saturday signed an agreement laying out the roadmap for implementation of a peace deal that both sides reached in South Africa in November.

Representatives from the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have been meeting in Nairobi since early last week to reach agreement on various aspects related to the implementation of the peace pact signed in Pretoria.

Saturday’s declaration is expected to boost efforts by the African Union mediators to resolve a two-year conflict that has killed thousands and displaced millions in the Horn of Africa country.

It will facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, provide security guarantees to aid workers, ensure the protection of civilians and establish a joint committee to oversee implementation, mediators said.

The deal will be put into effect “immediately,” mediator Olusegun Obasanjo told a news conference before the signing.

Both sides said they were committed to the declaration, stressing it was the only way to restore peace and stability.

“We will fully dedicate ourselves to implementing the Pretoria agreement and this declaration,” said Birhanu Jula, a senior Ethiopian military officer and one of the government representatives at the talks.

Ethiopian military officers and TPLF had reached an agreement on the disarmament of TPLF fighters and entry of the Ethiopian military into the Tigrayan capital of Mekele, the federal government said in a statement issued after the signing.

Disarmament will start on Tuesday, the declaration showed.

The two sides agreed to a permanent cessation of hostilities in an unexpected diplomatic breakthrough in South Africa on November 2.

Immediate humanitarian access will be welcome relief in a region where hundreds of thousands face famine conditions.

On Friday Ethiopia’s government said international aid was “allowed and ready” to move into Tigray.