Ethiopia government, Tigray forces establish hotline following peace deal

Ethiopian government representative Redwan Hussien, former Nigerian president and African Union envoy Olesegun Obasanjo, Tigray delegate Getachew Reda and South Africa’s former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka pose for a photograph after signing of the AU-led negotiations to resolve the conflict in northern Ethiopia, in Pretoria, South Africa.

Ethiopia’s government and Tigray forces have established a telephone hotline following a truce struck last week, the African Union’s chief mediator Olusegun Obasanjo said on Monday.

The Ethiopian government and regional forces from Tigray agreed on Wednesday to cease hostilities, a dramatic diplomatic breakthrough two years into a war that has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands facing famine.

Representatives of Ethiopia’s government and forces from Tigray are gathering in Kenya’s capital Nairobi to discuss how to begin implementing the ceasefire agreed last week. The talks are expected to last three or four days.

“The first sign for me of the progress after the signing of the agreement is the fact that between them they have exchanged a hotline,” Obasanjo told a news conference in Nairobi, where the two parties are holding further talks this week.

Former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, a co-mediator at the talks, said he hoped the parties would be able to work together to create a permanent resolution to the problem.

“We started in Pretoria, we are inching our way closer. We are now in Nairobi, we are very hopeful next time we will be in Mekelle for our (next) meeting and ultimately celebrate together in Addis Ababa,” Kenyatta said, referring to the capitals of South Africa, the Tigray region and Ethiopia respectively.

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