The Ethiopian Government and rebel group the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have agreed to a truce for a “permanent” end to its war, which began in 2020.
As many as half a million people have been killed.
The peace settlement has been welcomed by the international community, but the process to a lasting peace is expected to remain difficult.
The war began in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The TPLF used to be part of Ethiopia’s Government. After they were ousted from power, they remained active in Tigray as a rebel force. In 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray.
There have been reports of mass killings of ethnic Tigrayans, and the region has been cut off from humanitarian assistance, phone communication and banking. Both groups have been accused of committing human rights abuses. Fighting had escalated in recent months after a short period of truce.
Representatives of the Ethiopian Government and the TPLF signed a peace deal in South Africa yesterday.
The talks were facilitated by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on behalf of the African Union. Obasanjo called it “a new dawn for Ethiopia”, saying the parties had agreed to cease hostilities, to reduce their arms, and to allow access to humanitarian supplies in areas that had previously been cut off.
However, Obasanjo added “this moment is not the end of the peace process but the beginning of it. Implementation… is critical.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said the truce was a welcome first step. Last month, he warned the situation in Ethiopia had been at risk of “spiralling out of control”.
It is not clear exactly what the peace deal involves, including whether it involves the neighbouring country of Eritrea, which has sent its troops into Ethiopia to fight alongside the Ethiopian army.