Truce ending fighting in Ethiopia reached, Abiy vows commitment
The talks, which are expected to last for over a week, mark the first formal dialogue for ending a war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
The Ethiopian government and Tigray People's Liberation Fron (TPLF) announced on Wednesday that they agreed on settling their dispute which has crippled Ethiopia over the past two years.
They took the resolve to "permanently silence the guns" by setting up a program of disarmament and integration of rebels and "end the two years of conflict in northern Ethiopia," the two parties said in a joint statement after marathon talks in South Africa.
The announcement was made by the African Union's mediator, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
"The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as the systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament," he said at a press conference in Pretoria, noting that the talks were the start of a new "dawn" for both parties.
Both parties had "concluded a peace agreement" following "intensive negotiations", the statement read, adding that they had agreed on a program of "disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration for TPLF combatants, taking into account the security situation on the ground."
Picture of the day. Ethiopian government security advisor @RedwanHussien and Tigray government spokesman @reda_getachew have signed a ceasefire agreement and a possible end to two years of war at the African Union mediated peace talks in Pretoria. pic.twitter.com/qtvVcPJ17G— Zecharias Zelalem (@ZekuZelalem) November 2, 2022
The more than week-long talks mark the first formal dialogue for ending a war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
The head of the TPLF delegation Getachew Reda said his party agreed to make "concessions" and stated their readiness "to implement and expedite this agreement."
"In order to address the pains of our people, we have made concessions because we have to build trust."
"Ultimately, the fact that we have reached a point where we have now signed an agreement speaks volumes about the readiness on the part of the two sides to lay the past behind them to chart a new path of peace," said Getachew.
The clash between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray rebels began on November 4, 2020, when Addis Ababa accused the TPLF of attacking federal army camps in Tigray and sent troops to counter them.
US agencies estimate that the conflict caused for 500,000 to die in the war, and over two million to be displaced from their homes, thus triggering a humanitarian crisis.
"We've agreed that the government of Ethiopia will further enhance its collaboration with humanitarian agencies to continue expediting aid towards those in need of assistance," the joint statement said.
Expression of Gratitude on the Conclusion of the Peace Talks pic.twitter.com/mB7Q0jLwsZ— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) November 2, 2022
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, "The agreement signed today in South Africa is monumental in moving Ethiopia forward on the path of the reforms we embarked upon four and a half years ago."
"The commitment to peace remains steadfast. And our commitment to collaborating for the implementation of the agreement is equally strong," he said in a statement.
Abiy assumed his position as Prime Minister in 2018 and vowed to implement a series of reforms aimed at changing many of the policies that were implemented by the TPLF.
The rebel party had governed the country for almost three decades prior to Abiy's electoral victory.
In 2019, Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize for initiating a rapprochement with Eritrea a feared player in the conflict against the Tigrayan rebels.
In November 2020, Abiy sent troops to counter the TPLF after they were held accountable for launching an offensive on federal army camps.