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News: Federal, Tigray military leaders joint committee held first meeting in Shire

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

Addis Abeba – The Joint Committee consisting of military leaders from the federal government and Tigray armed combatants has convened in Shire two, in northwestern zone of the Tigray regional state, the federal government said in a statement. The Joint Committee, which is “expected to outline the detailed plan for the disarmament of Tigray combatants,” has assumed its functions on Wednesday, 30 November, the statement said.

It is to be recalled that the weekend of 12 November, the top military leadership of the federal army and Tigrayan forces led by Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, Chief of the Ethiopian Defense Forces, and Lt. General Tadesse Worede, chief of Tigrayan forces, concluded a five day meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, and have agreed to form a joint committee to “elaborate on the modalities for the implementation of comprehensive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program.”

Accordingly, under “Disarmament of Tigray armed combatants,” of the Nairobi Executive Declaration, the two parties agreed that “disarmament of heavy weapons will be done concurrently with the withdrawal of foreign and non-ENDF forces from the region.”

Furthermore the Nairobi meeting meeting between the top military leaders from the two sides discussed on working out “detailed modalities” on the implementation of the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed in Pretoria, South Africa, on 02 November, “including, disarmament issues, taking into account the security situation on the ground,” as well as “provide a roadmap for immediate humanitarian access and restoration of services in the Tigray region.”

On Wednesday, the federal government said that since the last four days, in coordination with international development partners, it was transporting humanitarian supplies to the Tigray region in three corridors, through Gonder and Kombolcha corridors in Amhara regional state, and the Semera corridor in Afar regional state.

The statement from today said that the committee “is expected to finalize its duties in the coming few days, and its “detailed plan is envisaged to address the issues of disarmament and other related matters,” according to the statement.

According to the Nairobi Executive Declaration, the joint committee will consist of two representatives from the parties and one representative from the African Union Monitoring and Verification Team. “A joint Committee shall be established on the date of signing of this declaration by the two commanders to work out detailed implementation plan for the disarmament of light weapons and report within a period of fourteen (14 days) with a clear plan for the process and timeline for the disarmament of light weapons. The Committee shall comprise two (2) representatives from the parties and one (1) representative from the AU Monitoring and Verification Team.”

While acknowledging “the planning has been delayed due to technical factors,” today’s statement from the federal government didn’t mention if a member of AU’s Monitoring and Verification team is part of the meeting in Shire.

The joint meeting comes amidst increasing concerns about the continued atrocities being committed by Eritrean forces in the areas they continued occupying in the Tigray region.

Citing a report by “the Tigray government’s Emergency Coordination Center and seen by its staff, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday 30 November that “Eritrean forces killed 111 people…between Nov. 17 and Nov. 23. The regional authority also reported that 103 people had been severely injured in areas still controlled by Eritrea, while 241 houses were destroyed. More than 100 camps for people displaced by the ongoing fighting were operating in the vicinity of the city of Adigrat alone, it said.” AS

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