World leaders are reacting with cautious optimism following the announcement of a peace deal and ceasefire between the warring parties in northern Ethiopia’s Tigre region.
“It represents an important step towards peace,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price. “We commend the parties in their commitment to peace in reaching this agreement. The United States remains committed to this African Union-led process and partnership to support peace and advance peace in northern Ethiopia. “
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “welcomes the signing of the end of hostilities” in a Twitter post on Wednesday, praising the African Union for its “extraordinary efforts to bring peace to northern Ethiopia”.
“Two years into the war in northern Ethiopia, the Ethiopian government and the Tigre People’s Liberation Front have just agreed an end to hostilities, while millions have been cut off from humanitarian aid and after countless deaths and atrocities,” US Senator Jim Risk, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.
Risk meets with administration of US President Joe Biden “To determine an atrocity or to hold Ethiopian leaders accountable for human rights abuses. This inaction has contributed to the continued atrocities.”
Negotiations began in Johannesburg on 25 October and ended after 10 days. deal Called for the disarmament of Tigreyan forces, with both sides agreeing to “permanently silence the guns”. The parties agreed to “stop all forms of conflict and hostile propaganda”, calling on Ethiopians at home and abroad to support efforts for lasting peace.
The brief joint statement referred to Tigre as “an elaborate program of disarmament” and “restoration of constitutional order”.
The Ethiopian government also committed to restoring public services in the Tigre region, where communications, transport and banking links have been broken for more than 5 million people since the war began. “Students should go to school, farmers and shepherds should go to their fields, and public servants should go to their offices,” the statement said.
The parties also committed to allowing unfettered access to humanitarian relief organizations.
The Tigre region has been under government-imposed blackouts, making it difficult to measure the scale of the war’s impact. With little or no internet, mobile phone and landline communications, journalists struggled to access information from within Tigre.
It is unclear where Eritrea stands, but it has been involved in the Tigre War since its inception, fighting alongside Ethiopia’s federal government. The neighboring country was not represented in the peace talks and the statement issued did not directly address the issue of the withdrawal of Eritrean troops by the warring parties.
The African Union played a major role in the talks with the High Representative of the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African Vice President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngkuka.
African Union Commission President Moussa Faki congratulated the parties on reaching an agreement.
“I commend the parties for signing the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement after facilitated negotiations by the AU Panel,” he said in a Twitter post. The AU, he said, is “committed to continue supporting the parties to find lasting peace and reconciliation for all Ethiopians.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Ethiopian people and the international community to “support the bold step” taken by the warring parties. And EU foreign affairs chief Josef Borrell urged that “rapid implementation of the agreement” was needed and underscored the need to “restart humanitarian access and restore basic services in all affected areas”.
The civil war in Africa’s second most populous country marks its second anniversary on 4 November. The UN says the conflict has killed thousands, with about 3.5 million internally displaced in the Tigre this year in 2022. Humanitarian convoy movement to Mekele, the capital city of Tigre via Afar “stopped completely” from 24 August, the UN said Many are facing hunger,