Ethiopian officials meet TPLF over disarmament process in Tigray
ADDIS ABABA - For the first time in as many months, authorities in Ethiopia have held a formal meeting with the Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] over the disarmament process in the Tigray region, a positive move that could eventually cure the menace in the northern region of Ethiopia.
Already, the joint committee of the Ethiopian government and TPLF have held a formal meeting inside Tigray which paves way for disarmament which was agreed upon a couple of weeks ago after the meetings in Pretoria and Nairobi, which were sponsored by the African Union.
According to the government communication service, the teams have already met in Shire town which was worst affected by the TPLF and Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] conflict that lasted for two years and whose long-term solution is yet to be established.
The peace agreement says Tigray forces will be disarmed within 30 days of the Nov. 2 signing, and Ethiopian security forces will take full control of "all federal facilities, installations and major infrastructure such as airports and highways within the Tigray region."
But Tigrayan authorities have been insisting that the disarmament process will not start until Eritrean troops formally withdraw and disengage from Tigray. The TPLF also wants Amhara and Afar militia completely withdraw from Tigray. Eritrean soldiers are said to be still controlling parts of Tigray.
Tadesse Werede, commander of the Tigray forces, last month told reporters that "with these [Eritrean and Amhara] forces’ continued presence, it is difficult to even think about a disarmament issue." Tigray officials were not immediately available for comment on the latest development.
Ethiopian officials have not said whether fighters from Eritrea and the Amhara region are leaving Tigray. Neither is part of the peace deal. Last week, the African Union envoy and former Nigerian president helping to mediate the talks, Olesegun Obasanjo, openly called for the withdrawal of "foreign troops."
Fighting between the two parties broke out in December 2020 and thousands of people are believed to have died and millions displaced. Western nations have warned against violation of the peace deal insisting that those found culpable will have to face severe sanctions including having their traveling visas canceled.