Ethiopian government and Tigray rebels sign agreement

The Ethiopian federal government and the rebel authorities in Tigray reached an agreement on Wednesday in Pretoria on a “cessation of hostilities,” less than 48 hours before the second anniversary of the deadly conflict between them in northern Ethiopia.
“The two parties to the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed on a cessation of hostilities, as well as on an orderly, smooth, and coordinated disarmament,” announced the African Union’s (AU) High Representative for the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The agreement, publicly signed afterwards by the heads of the two delegations, also provides for “a restoration of law and order, services (in Tigray), unhindered access to humanitarian supplies, and protection of civilians, among others,” Obasanjo continued. “This moment is not the end of the peace process, but the beginning.” “The implementation of the peace agreement signed today is essential,” he warned.
Details of the agreement’s provisions and implementation were not immediately disclosed. In particular, the mediators did not indicate what the agreement provides for the intervention in Tigray of the army of neighboring Eritrea, a sworn enemy of the Tigrayan leadership, which is supporting the federal Ethiopian army.
The head of the Ethiopian government delegation, Redwan Hussein, national security adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, welcomed the “constructive commitment” of the warring parties to put an end to this tragic episode.
This agreement shows “the will of both parties to leave the past behind,” said Getachew Reda, who led the delegation of the rebel authorities in Tigray, saying he hoped “both parties will respect their commitments. ‘‘As we speak, thousands of fighters and civilians are losing their lives. It is therefore important not only to sign this agreement but also that it be implemented immediately,” he added.
This is “a very welcome first step,” according to the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. And “the beginning of a new era for Ethiopia,” according to the African Union.