Ethiopia, Tigray military leaders agree on peace roadmap

NAIROBI – Senior military commanders from Ethiopia and the embattled Tigray region have agreed to allow humanitarian people unhindered access to the region and to form a joint disarmament committee following last week’s ceasefire.

the commanders, who have been meeting in the Kenyan capital Nairobi since Monday, signed an agreement on Saturday demanding they withdraw from all forms of military activity.

Both parties have agreed to protect civilians and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the region of more than 5 million people, according to a copy of the agreement seen by The Associated Press.

The deal states that disarmament will occur “simultaneously with the withdrawal of foreign and non-Ethiopian military forces” from Tigray.

Chief negotiator for Ethiopia Redwan Hussein told the AP that Saturday’s signing event created a favorable environment for ongoing peace efforts, noting that the next meeting of military leaders will be “most likely” before a final meeting in Tigray in mid-December Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in January.

In a separate statement late Saturday, Ethiopian federal authorities said “efforts are being made to provide humanitarian assistance to most of the Tigray region that is under (Ethiopian military) command.”

The statement noted that representatives of the Ethiopian and Tigrayan military meeting in Kenya discussed “detailed plans to disarm” Tigrayan forces, including an agreement for Ethiopian forces to enter the Tigrayan capital, Mekele.

The African Union-led talks in Nairobi followed the end of hostilities signed by Ethiopia and Tigray leaders in South Africa last week.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is facilitating the talks, said Saturday that “humanitarian aid should have resumed like yesterday.” Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also involved in the talks, thanked commanders for her commitment to peace.

The Tigray conflict began in November 2020, less than a year after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace with Eritrea, which borders the Tigray region and its Fighters have fought alongside the Ethiopian Confederation Troops in Tigray.

Eritrea is not specifically mentioned in the peace papers, and a diplomat attending the Nairobi talks said the Eritrea issue was a sticking point this week.

Brutal fighting in Tigray, which spread to the Amhara and Afar regions as Tigrayan forces attempted to breach the military blockade of their region, flared up in August after a months-long lull that brought thousands of humanitarian aid trucks to Tigray.

The war in Africa’s second most populous country, which lasted two years on November 4, has seen documented abuses on both sideswith millions of people displaced and many at risk of starvation.

Telephone and internet connections to Tigray are still cut, and foreign journalists and human rights researchers remain blocked, complicating efforts to verify reports of ongoing violence in the region.

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