The Ethiopian government and rebels in the Tigray region have agreed on a “cessation of hostilities” in this northern region of the country. The African Union (AU) announced on Wednesday (November 2) that the agreement was reached during talks in Pretoria (South Africa).
>> Five things to know about the forgotten war in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia
The two parties in the country on the Horn of Africa have been arguing for two years. It was the “beginning of a new era for Ethiopia,” the African Union (AU) said after the announcement. “We will examine the details, but it is a really welcome first step,” said the spokesman for Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The rebels also welcomed the deal. “To address the suffering of our people, we made concessions because we need to build trust,” said rebel delegation leader Getachew Reda. He reiterated his will to “implement the agreement as soon as possible” and underlined “the will of both parties to put the past behind them to embark on a new path towards peace”.
The negotiations, which began on October 25, were originally scheduled to end on October 30. However, a spokesman for the AU Commission said on Monday that they would continue and that “no time limit has been set for the talks”.
“As we end the war in the north with victory, we must bring peace, development and prosperity to Ethiopia so that those remotely causing conflict among Ethiopians will feel shame,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said before the deal was announced was given .
The toll of the conflict, marked by countless abuses and mostly taking place behind closed doors, is unknown. The press has no access to northern Ethiopia and communications there are haphazard, making independent verification impossible.