NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — An official close to the Ethiopian peace talks says the copy of the “permanent cessation of hostilities” agreement obtained by The Associated Press with details on disarmament of Tigray forces and federal control of the Tigray region is the signed and final one.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday, a day after the deal’s announcement, because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Enormous challenges lie ahead in implementing the deal, including getting all parties to lay down arms or withdraw.
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 hasn’t been made public, but the brief joint statement read out by the warring parties Wednesday night notes “a detailed program of disarmament” and ”restoration of constitutional order” in Tigray.
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.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed asserted on a visit to southern Ethiopia that his government’s proposal at the talks was accepted completely and the government was ready to “open our hearts” for peace to prevail. He also said the issue of contested areas will only be resolved through the law of the land and negotiations.
Ethiopian media outlets have ceased using the word “terrorist” to refer to Tigray authorities and forces. The country is holding a remembrance event Thursday for some victims of the conflict.
Inside Tigray, one humanitarian source in the town of Shire said there was no sound of gunfire, as in the past few days, and a “blockade” of movement on people and vehicles was still in place. Like many inside Tigray, the source spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.