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News: AU proposes extension of ceasefire monitoring experts’ term limits to expedite peace process in Ethiopia

Members of the African Union Monitoring, Verification, and Compliance Mechanism (AU-MVCM) team participated during the 3rd Joint Committee Meeting held on 01 December, 2023 (Photo: AU)

Addis Abeba – The African Union has proposed extending the term limits of the AU Monitoring, Verification, and Compliance Mission (AU-MVCM) by a year.

This proposal was made during the 3rd Joint Committee Meeting of the MVCM of the Ethiopian peace process on 01 December, 2023. The meeting aimed to review progress, challenges, and opportunities in implementing the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA), which was signed on November 2, 2022.

The committee concluded its meeting “with both parties reaffirming their commitment to the full implementation of the agreement, the need to expedite the DDR and the resettlement of IDPs, the imperative to launch political dialogue to address outstanding issues from the Permanent COHA,” according to the press statement issued by the AU.

The committee also proposed extending the MVCM’s mandate from January 1, 2024, to December 31. The MVCM is a crucial component of the Pretoria Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed between the Ethiopian federal government and the TPLF, which ended a war that began two years prior to the agreement. Article 11 of the CoHA sets a six-month duration for the mandate of the monitoring experts “from the date the experts are deployed,” but allows for the possibility of extension “upon agreement with the Parties.”

In June 2023, the AU had already extended the term limits of the MVCM until December 2023.

The 3rd Joint Committee Meeting was attended by representatives of the government of Ethiopia, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the AU High-Level Panel. The meeting was also attended by the three panel members: Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria; Uhuru Kenyatta, former President of the Republic of Kenya; and Pumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former deputy president of South Africa.

To further progress, the AU has planned a strategic reflection session involving the AU High-Level Panel within the next two months. This session is expected to focus on strategizing DDR processes, IDP resettlement, and overall peace initiatives, emphasizing the urgent need for concerted efforts to sustain peace and stability in Ethiopia.

The Joint Committee also welcomed the AU’s announcement of the approval of a $1 million contribution from the Crisis Reserve Facility of the AU Peace Fund towards the implementation of the DDR program. AS

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