PEACE AT LAST IN ETHIOPIA?

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The talks held in South Africa between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after two years of bitter conflict, has had a positive result. On the second November, Olusegun Obasanjo, a former President of Nigeria and the African Union (AU) representative for the Horn of Africa, announced a ceasefire agreement between the parties. 

A welcome first step towards peace! Obasanjo also stated that a systematic disarmament was agreed, together with restored services including humanitarian help and protection of civilians. This would be carried out under AU monitoring.

An aide to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was quoted as saying, all parties should carry out the agreement’s letter and spirit. A Tigray spokesman reacted, by hoping that both sides would fulfill their responsibilities.

The war had devastated northern Ethiopia, leaving hundreds of thousands dead, the majority civilians. Food supplies and medicine are in short supply, as aid could not reach the needy, due to the fighting. With famine threatening, it had therefore been agreed to involve aid organisations, whose support is needed.

Hopefully further talks will lead to peace. These should include Eritrea, which had fought with the government against the TPLF, often with brutality against the civilian population. Allegations of war crimes by both parties had also circulated during the war, resulting in Amnesty demanding investigations into human rights violations. 

The root of the conflict was the question, as to who was responsible for Tigray: the Addis Ababa government or the TPLF, which was deeply rooted within the local population.