Regional and world leaders have hailed the peace agreement between Ethiopia’s government and Tigray rebels, raising hopes for an end to two years of brutal conflict marked by atrocities, including killings, gang rapes and starvation.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union mediator, said the agreement signed on Wednesday in South Africa marked a new “dawn” for Ethiopia.
The war, which broke out in November 2020, has pitted regional forces from the northern region of Tigray against Ethiopia’s federal army and its allies, which include fighters from other regions and neighbouring Eritrea. It has killed thousands of people, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine.
Here is a quick round-up of reactions to the deal:
Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia prime minister
“The agreement signed today in South Africa is monumental in moving Ethiopia forward on the path of the reforms we embarked upon four and a half years ago.
“Our commitment to peace remains steadfast. And our commitment to collaborating for the implementation of the agreement is equally strong.”
Olusegun Obasanjo, head of the African Union mediation team
“The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as to systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament.
“This moment is not the end of the peace process. Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is critical for its success.”
Getachew Reda, the head of the Tigray delegation
“Making peace has proved more difficult and more intractable and elusive than presiding over the killing of women and children and destruction of property.
“The war over the last two years has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and has turned Ethiopia, once on the cusp of great economic progress, into a bad parody of itself and caused tremendous suffering to the people of Tigray.”
Ned Price, US Department of State spokesman
“The African Union’s announcement of the signing of a cessation of hostilities between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front represents an important step towards peace.”
Stephane Dujarric, United Nations spokesman
“It is very much a welcome first step, which we hope can start to bring some solace to the millions of Ethiopian civilians that have really suffered during this conflict.”
Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief
“Further negotiations are encouraged to reach a permanent ceasefire agreement and launch broader political talks.”
James Cleverly, British foreign secretary
“Welcome important agreement between the Ethiopian Government and Tigrayan authorities to end the terrible conflict in northern Ethiopia.
“I applaud their choice of peace, and the mediation efforts of African Union, South Africa and Kenya. UK is ready to support the peace process.”
Naomi Kikoler, a leading expert and strategist on mass atrocity at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Center for Prevention of Genocide
“We must remain vigilant in the days and weeks to come. All too often, civilians remain vulnerable to mass atrocity crimes as peace agreements are being implemented. Ensuring the agreement’s implementation, including the departure of Eritrean forces, whose government was not part of the negotiations, is critical.”
Uhuru Kenyatta, former president of Kenya, facilitator of the talks
“The lasting solution can only be through political engagement and being able to accommodate our differences, our diversity, while still remaining a united Ethiopia. It’s my hope that all parties will go back and … begin the process of dialogue. The lasting solution can only be dialogue.”