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News Alert: Federal, Tigray senior military commanders meet in Nairobi; expected to adopt ToR for AU monitoring, verification and compliance mechanism

Federal and Tigray military leaders meeting was concluded on the weekend of 12 November. Pictured: Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, Chief of the Ethiopian Defense Forces (right), and Lt. General Tadesse Worede, chief of Tigrayan forces (left), accompanied by Getachew Reda and Lt. Gen. Tsadikan G/Tinsae. Photo: ©Elias Meseret/Archive

Addis Abeba – Representatives of the Ethiopian federal government and Tigrayan senior commanders are meeting in Nairobi at the Moran Training Center in Karen, Nairobi, Kenya for a consultative meeting on the implementation of the the Ethiopia Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) which was signed in Pretoria, South Africa on 02 November, according to the program schedule seen by Addis Standard.

The consultative meeting was originally scheduled between 20 and 23 December, but Addis Standard learned that it is commencing on Wednesday 21 December.

During the three day consultative meeting, the two sides are expected to discuss on the outcome document on the implementation of the disarmament process, finalization and adoption of the Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the AU monitoring, verification and compliance mechanism and next steps in the implementation of the permanent CoHA, according to the program schedule.

Representatives of Uhuru Kenyatta, former president of the Kenya and AU High Level Panel member, IGAD, and the US Government will be attending the meeting, which takes place amidst growing calls for the urgent deployment of AU’s monitoring and verification team, whose establishment is provided under article 11 of the Pretoria permanent CoHA following exchanges of compliant from the federal government and Tigray regional state.

On Saturday 17 December, the federal government issued a statement threatening to take “necessary measures” to protect Tigrayan civilians subjected to what it said was “organized crimes” and “robbery” in areas its forces are not in control of, including the capital Mekelle. “The Government of Ethiopia wants to underline that these criminals will be held accountable,” the statement said, adding the government will take “all necessary measures to safeguard the security of the people in those areas and discharge its responsibilities.”

On his part, Tigray’s leader Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), said on Sunday 18 December that although his side has been implementing the Pretoria and Nairobi peace pacts since the signing, the federal government has been lagging behind in implementing it. Debretsion blamed the federal government that although there should have been unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid to Tigray there are obstructions despite some improvements. “People residing in areas occupied by the Eritrean and the Amhara forces are not getting aid properly, even in areas where the federal government has been distributing aid, only people in the cities get the aid, yet many people in the countryside do not get any help,” he said.

Several reports also show that both Eritrean and Amhara forces are committing atrocity crimes against Tigrayan civilians in the areas they occupied.

Under “Disarmament of Tigray armed combatants,” on the Declaration on the Modalities for the Implementation of the Pretoria agreement, which was signed in Nairobi on November 12, article 2.1/D,stated that “disarmament of heavy weapons will be done concurrently with the withdrawal of foreign and non-ENDF forces from the region.”

On 05 December, Tigray’s topmost military commander General Tadesse Worede said that nearly 65% of Tigray armed combatants were disengaged from the front lines, but the announcement has not been independently corroborated due to the absence of AU’s monitoring and verification team on the ground, which makes today’s meeting in Nairobi and its outcome critical to the peace process. AS

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