New round of peace talks between Ethiopia, Tigray reps

A destroyed tank is seen by the side of the road south of Humera, in an area of western Tigray annexed by the Amhara region during the ongoing conflict, in Ethiopia Saturday, May 1, 2021. [AP]

A new round of talks has begun between Ethiopia’s government and Tigray regional representatives to work out military and other details of last week’s signing of a “permanent” cessation of hostilities in a conflict thought to have killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The meetings in Kenya starting Monday involve the military commanders of both sides along with the lead political negotiators. Issues expected to be discussed include how to monitor the deal and the resumption of humanitarian aid access and basic services to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.

An official familiar with the talks hosted by the Kenyan government says they are expected to continue through Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Already, a communications channel has been established between the two sides to address any incidents “as both recognize the challenge of fully communicating with all their units to stop fighting,” the official said.

Those facilitating and attending the talks include African Union envoy and former Nigerian president Olesegun Obasanjo, former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and Nigerian, South African and Kenyan military officers. The United States and the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development are observers.