The Ethiopian government and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) announced an agreement to end the two-year-long conflict in the East African country.
The peace accord was signed on Wednesday in the South African capital Pretoria, days after an African Union (AU)-led negotiation, which was facilitated by Olusegun Obasanjo, the bloc’s high representative for the Horn of Africa and former president of Nigeria, along with the former president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, and former deputy president of South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
The two parties in the conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities and orderly disarmament, Xinhua news agency quoted Obasanjo as saying at a press briefing.
The deal includes restoring law and order, restoring services and unhindered access to humanitarian supplies, he said.
The direct talks facilitated by the pan-African bloc were part of the ongoing AU-led process to support the related parties in finding a political solution to the conflict in the Tigray region.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, has seen a devastating conflict between government-allied troops and forces loyal to the TPLF since November 2020, which has left millions in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
The agreement is an outcome of African solutions to African problems, Obasanjo said, emphasizing that the moment is not the end of the peace process but the beginning of it.
The peace talks, launched on October 25, paved the way for restoring peace, security and stability in the Tigray region, the AU said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The agreement marks an important step in efforts to silence the guns, and provides a solid foundation for the preservation of Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the immediate cessation of hostilities, the resumption of unhindered humanitarian access, the restoration of services as well as healing and reconciliation,” the statement said.
The High-Level Panel for the AU-led Ethiopian Peace Process congratulated and commended the parties for their “commitment, diligence and stellar leadership throughout the process, and for prioritizing the Ethiopian people and the supreme interests of the Ethiopian nation”.
“As the country embarks on this next chapter in its great history, the Panel affirms its commitment and readiness to continue accompanying the process towards a more democratic, just and inclusive Ethiopia in which youth, women and men participate fully and in peace,” the statement added.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development congratulated the Ethiopian government and the rebel TPLF on signing the agreement.
“By signing this agreement to silence the guns and end the armed conflict, the people of Ethiopia now have the opportunity to establish a long-lasting peace,” Workneh Gebeyehu, executive secretary of the trade bloc, said.
Gebeyehu encouraged all parties to the agreement to implement its provisions.
He further commended the Ethiopian government’s commitment to finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict and the critical role of the AU.