ETHIOPIA: Regional Warring Groups in Tigray, Ethiopia, Agree to End Conflicts. The two warring factions of the Ethiopian government and the regional forces in the Tigray region, consented to cease hostile confrontations, a momentous breakthrough two years into a deadly war that has massacred thousands, displaced millions and left countless others facing famine.
Delegates from both sides signed an agreement on a “permanent suspension of hostilities” after a week of peace negotiations led by the African Union (AU) in the South African capital of Pretoria. Head of the AU mediation team, Olusegun Obasanjo, addressed a crowd at a ceremony and notified the team’s success in securing a common ground.
“The two parties in the Ethiopian dispute have legally agreed to cease hostilities as well as systematic, orderly, smooth, and coordinated disarmament,” he stated.
Obasanjo, a former Nigerian president, highlighted that the deal also includes “the establishment of law and order, restoration of services, unrestricted access to humanitarian supplies, and civilian protection.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the AU had invited the media for a supposed briefing by Obasanjo, which ultimately became a press conference to reveal that a clear truce was to be signed. “The peace process is not over at this point. The implementation of today’s peace deal is vital to its success,” Obasanjo went on to say that this will be overseen and monitored by a high-level AU panel.
Obasanjo has been involved in mediating peace talks in various conflicts in Africa, emphasizing that there can only be an African solution to an African problem.
Meanwhile, incumbent Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his gratitude to Obasanjo and other officials for their peace-making efforts, saying that the government was bent on settling the ongoing dispute between the government and regional combatant forces.
“Our commitment to peace remains steadfast. And we are equally committed to working together to see the agreement through,” according to the Twitter message.
The international reaction to the truce decision was overwhelmingly positive. In Washington, White House spokesman Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the US would continue to provide the support for African-led peace talks.
At the UN, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the truce was long overdue and the preliminary step to achieving long-term peace to civilians who have struggled to survive the conflict, according to a U.N. spokesperson.
The Tigray crisis emerged from a catastrophic dispute between a guerrilla movement called Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which turned into a prominent political party for 27 years, and current leader Abiy, who was once part of their coalition but separated following his 2018 election.
Tensions began to surge between 2018-2020 after Abiy sided with TPLF’s arch-enemy Eritrea, resulting in TPLF conducting widespread elections, which Abiy had postponed. Wednesday’s agreement did not address the deep-rooted political tensions which have been festering for over two years now.
The AU concluded that it was ready to continue aiding the Ethiopian peace procedure “towards a more democratic, just and inclusive Ethiopia in which youth, women and men participate fully and in peace”.