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Ethiopia warring parties agree to truce, says mediator

The week-long talks marked the first formal dialogue for ending a war that has killed hundreds of thousands. ©AFP

Pretoria (AFP) - Warring sides in the brutal two-year conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray have agreed to a truce, the African Union's mediator said Wednesday following marathon talks in South Africa.

"The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as the systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament," the AU's special broker, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, said. 

The agreement marked a new "dawn" for Ethiopia, he said, speaking at a press conference. 

The week-long talks marked the first formal dialogue for ending a war that has killed hundreds of thousands and unleashed a humanitarian crisis.

Tigray's rebels hailed the deal and said they had made "concessions."

"We are ready to implement and expedite this agreement," said the head of their delegation, Getachew Reda.

"In order to address the pains of our people, we have made concessions because we have to build trust."

"Ultimately, the fact that we have reached a point where we have now signed an agreement speaks volumes about the readiness on the part of the two sides to lay the past behind them to chart a new path of peace," said Reda. 

The conflict erupted on November 4, 2020, when Addis Ababa sent troops into Tigray after accusing the TPLF, the regional ruling party, of attacking federal army camps.

The talks were scheduled to run until Sunday but were extended.

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