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Signs of Progress in Tigray

(FILE) A convoy of trucks deliver lifesaving medical supplies in the Tigray region, Ethiopia.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, and the Government of Ethiopia, signed a permanent cessation of hostilities after a destructive two-year conflict.

Signs of Progress in Tigray
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Last November, the two sides of a violent and destructive two-year conflict, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, and the Government of Ethiopia, signed a permanent cessation of hostilities.

Since then, the two signatories have gradually implemented the terms of the accord, which called for the resumption of unimpeded humanitarian assistance and essential services to Tigray as well as the disarmament of the TPLF and the withdrawal of all foreign and non-federal forces from Tigray. The agreement also called for an inclusive and comprehensive national transitional justice process.

For the first time in more than two years, the Ethiopian government restored power and telephone service to large swaths of Tigray. Humanitarian assistance began flowing in. In mid-January, the TPLF turned over many of its heavy weapons, including tanks and rocket launchers, to the African Union. In turn, the Eritrean forces have begun withdrawing from the towns and positions that they had occupied in Tigray for many months and moving back across the border to Eritrea.

“The United States supports the [African Union]-led peace process in northern Ethiopia,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price. “We do applaud the continued steady progress towards implementing the key elements of the cessation of hostilities agreement that was reached a number of months ago as well as the positive role of the AU’s Joint Monitoring Verification and Compliance team.”

“We are aware that Eritrean forces are beginning to withdraw from Ethiopia. We reiterate the call that … emanated from the talks in South Africa, for the withdrawal of all foreign forces,” said Spokesperson Price. “The departure of Eritrean and other forces is crucial … to achieving lasting peace, securing full humanitarian access, and ensuring the territorial integrity of Ethiopia.”

The United States will continue to support the implementation of the November 2 agreement and efforts to achieve a lasting peace. This includes access for international human rights monitors to conflict-affected areas of northern Ethiopia. Work remains, but progress is promising and gives the Ethiopian people reason for hope.