“The two parties to the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed on a cessation of hostilities, as well as on a methodical, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament”, announced the High Representative of the African Union (AU) for the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who led the troika of mediators.
The heads of the two delegations shook hands after signing this agreement which also provides for “restoration of public order, services (in Tigray), unhindered access of humanitarian supplies, protection of civilians, among others” . “This moment is not the end of the process of peace, but its beginning. Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is essential,” Obasanjo warned.
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The mediators did not indicate what the document provides concerning the other players in the conflict, particularly the army of neighboring Eritrea: the sworn enemy of the Tigrayan leaders, it supports the Ethiopian federal army in Tigray which borders it.
The two signatories “are not the only two groups with a role to play for peace in Ethiopia”, noted former South African Vice-President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a member of the troika, asking the signatories to ” share this agreement” so that “many others adhere to it”.
“Leave the past behind”
The head of the Ethiopian government delegation, Redwan Hussein, national security adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, hailed the “constructive commitment” of the belligerents “to put an end to this tragic episode”. This agreement shows “the will of both parties to leave the past behind them”, added Getachew Reda, who heads the delegation of the rebel authorities of Tigray, saying he hopes that “both parties respect their commitments”.
Third member of the troika, former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta warned: “The devil is nichera in detail, but we believe that the parties will keep their word. Much remains to be done. Trust must be built. We will help,” he assured. Delegations from the Ethiopian federal government and the rebel authorities of Tigray have been talking since October 25 in Pretoria under the aegis of the AU.
Two years of fighting
During the talks, fighting continued in Tigray, where Ethiopian and allied federal forces have been advancing since mid-October. Supported by artillery and aerial bombardments, they recently seized several important towns in the rebel region.
The toll of the conflict, marked by countless abuses and taking place largely behind closed doors, is unknown, but the International Crisis Group (ICG) and Amnesty International (AI) describe it as “one of the deadliest in the world “. “All parties are responsible for serious violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Amnesty International said on Wednesday, citing “summary executions” and “sexual violence.”
The conflict began on November 4, 2020 when Abiy Ahmed sent the federal army to arrest the leaders of the Tigray executive who had challenged his authority for several months, and whom he accused of attacking a base. military federal.