Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Radio France Internationale
Radio France Internationale
Michael Fitzpatrick

Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed promises to turn Tigray peace deal into reality

A tank damaged during fighting between Tigray Special Forces and Ethiopia's National Defense Force. © Stringer/File Photo/Reuters

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed on Tuesday to fulfil commitments made at peace talks with Tigrayan rebels. Abiy promised to make the agreement a reality, nearly two weeks after the deal was signed.

Latest news, 16h30: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said a medical aid convoy had arrived in the capital of Ethiopia's war-ravaged Tigray region on Tuesday, following a peace deal between the government and Tigrayan rebels earlier this month.

"ICRC's first medical supplies have just arrived in Mékélé," the agency's spokesperson in Ethiopia, Jude Fuhnwi, told the AFP news agency.

The ICRC said on Twitter that two trucks had delivered medicines, emergency and first aid kits to support health facilities in Tigray to treat patients with conditions that need urgent care.

"This aid delivery is the first since the resumption of fighting last August and the signing of the Pretoria and Nairobi agreements."

The Pretoria deal, finalised in South Africa on 2 November, called for the disarming of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and the restoration of aid to Tigray, which has been in the grip of a severe humanitarian crisis since the war broke out two years ago.

On Saturday, the warring sides agreed to facilitate immediate humanitarian access to "all in need" in Tigray and neighbouring regions in northern Ethiopia, following talks in Kenya's capital Nairobi to discuss implementation of the peace deal.

Responding to questions from lawmakers in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Abiy said: "We have discussed and signed (the agreement), what is expected from us next is executing the promise we made dutifully.

"Because of lack of trust and inability to execute what was promised, negotiations flounder," he warned.

A Twitter post by his office later quoted him saying: "We must keep our word by making our promise a reality. We must work hard to avoid problems during the process."

Observers have pointed to many challenges ahead, including the resumption of aid and the thorny question of Western Tigray, a contested region which has been occupied by pro-Abiy Amhara militias since the war erupted.

The peace deal does not mention the region, raising fears of further conflict. But Abiy said the issue could be resolved through constitutional means, including a possible referendum.

No time for petty disputes

"We did not go to Pretoria to debate whether Wolkait (in Western Tigray) belongs to Amhara or Tigray as it is neither the place nor the time," he told lawmakers.

The region is claimed by Tigrayans and Amharas.

International pressure for a ceasefire had been mounting since intense fighting reignited in northern Ethiopia in late August after a five-month truce, with pro-government forces capturing a number of key towns in Tigray.

The conflict between the TPLF and pro-Abiy forces -- which include regional militias and the Eritrean army -- has caused an untold number of deaths, forced more than two million people from their homes and driven hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.