AU special broker Olusegun Obasanjo bring the two warring Nation of Ethiopia and Tigrayan force to a truce deal

AU special broker Olusegun Obasanjo bring the two warring Nation of Ethiopia  and Tigrayan force to a truce deal  

The African Union has been mediating an end to the two-year conflict. The deal came hours after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed claimed his forces were close to "winning".

Ethiopia's government forces have reached a truce mediated by the African Union with rebel Tigrayan forces, after a two-year conflict caused a humanitarian crisis in the region.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, both sides called the deal an agreement to "permanently silence the guns."

The AU special broker Olusegun Obasanjo said in Pretoria that the fighting parties have also agreed to "systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament." Obasanjo has been mediating peace talks since late October.

AU special broker Olusegun Obasanjo bring the two warring Nation of Ethiopia  and Tigrayan force to a truce deal 

The truce also includes agreeing to the "restoration of services" and "unhindered access to humanitarian supplies," Obasanjo said.

The conflict cut off Tigray's communications and transport links, which severely impacted the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia's northernmost region. The speed with which aid could be restored to the region after the truce is not yet clear. 

A UN spokesman hailed the truce as a "welcome first step," but said the organization has yet to look into its details.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric hoped the deal "can start to bring some solace to the millions of Ethiopian civilians that have really suffered during this conflict."

The US also welcomed the agreement to cease fighting.

State Department spokesman Ned Price described it on Wednesday as "an important step toward peace." He hoped that it put an end to abuses witnessed during the past two years of conflict.

How did the warring parties react to the truce?

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stressed his government's committment to implementing the agreement. He welcomed the truce, expressing his gratitude on the peace talks' conclusion.

A Tigrayan representative said in press statetments as the truce was announced that it must be immediately implemented. Lead representative Getachew Reda acknowledged "concessions" reached, which he said were necessary 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 Reda.

Ethnic Tigryans living in Addis Ababa held a demonstration in front of the US Embassy to call for a long-lasting solution for the northern Ethiopia war

The AU-led mediation kicked off in South Africa's Pretoria a week ago. They are considered the first formal round of dialogue since the conflict broke out on November 4, 2020.

"It is now for all of us to honor this agreement,'' said the lead negotiator for Ethiopia's government, Redwan Hussein.

Ethiopian forces were supported during the conflict by neighboring Eritrean forces. It is not yet clear whether Eritrea, which was not represented in Pretoria on Wednesday, will abide by the truce.

World welcomes truce

An outpouring of global reactions followed news of the agreement. Senegalese and AU President Macky Sall described it as "excellent news."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the "momentous step," saying the US hoped it meant that humanitarian aid would be allowed to reach people put in danger by the conflict.

"We welcome the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance and the protection of civilians that should result from implementation of this agreement," he said.

The European Union congratulated both parties, but called for a "permanent ceasefire agreement" via more dialogue. The EU also pointed to securing humanitarian aid deliveries as a priority.

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock meanwhile also addressed neighboring Eritrea, calling on it to "lay down its arms and withdraw."

Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta warned that "the devil will be in the implementation" of the agreement. Kenyatta had helped facilitate the talks.

Abiy: Ethiopia close to 'victory'

The truce was announced shortly after statements by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in which he claimed that his government's forces were close to victory against Tigrayan rebels.

"As we're completing the war in the north with victory, we have to bring peace, development and ensure Ethiopia's prosperity, so we make those forces that (cause) conflict among Ethiopians from afar feel shame," the French news agency AFP quoted Abiy as saying.

Ethiopia's warring parties agree to peace deal

Prime Minister Abiy sent government troops into Tigray in November 2020 after accusing the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) of attacking military camps.

The TPLF had dominated Ethiopia's ruling political alliance for decades before Abiy took power in 2018.

The ensuing conflict has killed thousands of civilians, uprooted millions and left hundreds of thousands now facing possible famine.

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