AU mediators held talks with TPLF leaders

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  • Blinken, Abiy speak about implementing the cessation of the hostilities agreement

The delegation of the African Union led by Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa is in Mekele for a talk with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leaders.

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The delegation, who visited Mekele for the first time after the government and the TPLF signed a cessation of hostilities agreement on 2 November, included South Africa’s former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye.

Tigray Television, a media outlet controlled by the Tigray state, showed an image of the leader of the TPLF, Debretsion Gebremichael receiving the delegation at Mekele’s Alula Aba Nega Airport. The TPLF leaders explained steps taken so far by the Tigray authorities in terms of implementing the agreement, according to Tigray TV.

The regional leaders have been working to create consensus about the peace agreement, debriefing regional media houses about peaceful and reconciliatory reporting, preparing offices for services, Wondimu Asaminew, one of the negotiating team from Tigray, was quoted as saying.

Wondimu also said that the TPLF leaders informed the AU mediators that the presence of Eritrean armed groups in the region is one of the main obstacles in the process of implementation of the peace agreement.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke by phone Tuesday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed about the recently signed peace accord, according to a statement released by Spokesperson Ned Price.

“Secretary Blinken recognized ongoing efforts by the Ethiopian government to work towards unhindered humanitarian assistance and restoration of basic services in the Tigray Region as well as in the neighboring Afar and Amhara Regions.  The Secretary underscored the importance of immediately implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement, including withdrawal of all foreign forces and concurrent disarmament of the Tigrayan forces,” the statement said.

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