Ethiopia’s warring sides agreed Wednesday to a permanent cessation of hostilities in a conflict believed to have killed hundreds of thousands, but enormous challenges lie ahead, including getting all parties to lay down arms or withdraw.
The war in Africa's second-most populous country, which marks two years on Friday, has seen abuses documented on both sides, with millions of people displaced and many near famine.
“The level of destruction is immense,” said the lead negotiator for Ethiopia’s government, Redwan Hussein.
Lead Tigray negotiator Getachew Reda expressed a similar sentiment and noted that “painful concessions” had been made. Exhausted Ethiopians, urged by the parties to “stop voices of division and hate,” watched them shake hands.
A draft text of the agreement, says Tigray forces will be disarmed, starting with “light weapons” within 30 days of Wednesday’s signing, and Ethiopian federal security forces will take full control of “all federal facilities, installations, and major infrastructure such as airports and highways within the Tigray region.”
The final, detailed agreement was not made public, but the brief joint statement notes “a detailed program of disarmament” and ”restoration of constitutional order" in Tigray.
Ethiopia’s government will continue restoring basic services to the Tigray region, where communications, transport and banking links for more than 5 million people have been severed since fighting began. The parties also commit to unfettered humanitarian access.
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