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Ethiopia: Government signs peace deal with TPLF rebels

Ethiopian government, Tigrayan forces agree to truce after 2 years of war

By Katharine Houreld/WP
Updated November 3, 2022 
Redwan Hussien, left, national security adviser to Ethiopia’s federal government, and Getachew Reda of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front sign a peace agreement on Wednesday. (Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI — The Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces formally signed a truce Wednesday, raising hopes that two years of devastating war that threatened to tear apart Africa’s second-most-populous country might be coming to an end.

“Both parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as to systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament, restoration of law and order, restoration of services, unhindered access to humanitarian supplies [and] protection of civilians,” said Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union’s high representative for the Horn of Africa.

The document promised unhindered access for humanitarian aid, the restoration of services such as telecommunications and banking to the country’s Tigray region, and the cessation of hate speech. The federal government would take control of Mekelle, the capital of the rebellious region, and Ethiopia’s unity would be restored.

Ethiopian soldiers take strategic city in Tigray amid civilian exodus

Tigrayan forces are to be disarmed and refrain from supporting any other armed groups — Ethiopia is battling several ethnically based uprisings around the vast country.

In return, government troops would ensure there was no “foreign incursion” — a reference widely interpreted to mean troops from neighboring Eritrea would leave Tigray. The ban on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls much of the rebellious region, would be lifted, and it would be recognized as a political party again.

The agreement was announced on live television and was praised by Redwan Hussien, the national security adviser to Ethiopia’s federal government, and Getachew Reda from the TPLF.

Redwan thanked countries that had supported Ethiopia and took a slight swipe at others. The European Union froze budget support to Ethiopia, and the United States suspended Ethiopia’s much-valued preferential trading status over human rights abuses committed during the war, including gang rapes and mass killings of civilians by the Ethiopian military and its allies.

“Our sisters and brothers from Africa remained true to their principled stance that Ethiopians must own and resolve their difference,” he said. “We hope others will learn … such a generous and firm direction.” But, he added, “it is now time to revitalize relations with our partners.”

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