A Step in Right Direction: AU, EU & Others React to Truce

ADDIS ABABA – African Union (AU) and foreign governments have welcomed the Federal government of Ethiopia’s humanitarian truce in Tigray, calling the decision a step in the right direction.

The Federal government declared an indefinite humanitarian truce in the northern Ethiopia conflict on Thursday.

“Cognizant of the need to take extraordinary measures to save lives and reduce human suffering, the Government of Ethiopia hereby declares an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately,” its communication office said on Thursday afternoon.

In response later that day, Tigrayan authorities’ statement said they are “committed to implementing a cessation of hostilities effective immediately” if sufficient aid reaches Tigray within a reasonable time frame.

The humanitarian truce has been welcomed by officials of partnering countries, rights groups, and regional blocs such as the African Union and European Union.

Donors urged to step up

In a statement issued today, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has welcomed both the truce and the response of authorities in Tigray to the cessation of hostility.

The Chairperson has urged the donor community and humanitarian agencies to redouble their efforts to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in Tigray and all affected regions, including Amhara and Afar regions.

Faki has also called for a negotiated permanent comprehensive ceasefire, and for parties to engage in dialogue toward this goal.

In this regard, the Chairperson urges the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, to continue his strong efforts to work closely with the parties and stakeholders toward the swift resolution of the conflict.

US welcomes the truce

Soon after the government declared the truce, Antony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State, said the United States “welcomes and strongly supports” the indefinite humanitarian truce and “the commitment to work in collaboration with humanitarian organizations to expedite the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need.”

“We expect this declaration to be quickly followed by the movement of life-saving assistance,” he added.

Turkey: “A step in the right direction”

The government of Turkey too welcomed the declaration of the humanitarian truce.

In a statement, Its Foreign Ministry said Turkey “considers the truce announcement a step in the right direction in terms of finding a solution to the conflict and expects that it will result in lasting peace.”

“We hope the humanitarian aid will be delivered unhindered to Tigray and all other regions in need,” the Ministry added.

EU: “Ready to support”

The European Union says it stands ready to support speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need.

Its office in Addis Ababa said the EU “welcomes the declaration of a humanitarian truce by the Gov of Ethiopia and the statement on cessation of hostilities by the Tigrayan Authorities.”

“The EU stands ready to support speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need,” it said.

EHRC: A starting point for political solution

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Commissioner Daniel Bekele also welcomed both the announcement of cessation of hostilities by the federal government and the statement by the Tigray authorities committing to implement the cessation of hostilities.

“The commission is of the view that the announced measures and their implementation will contribute significantly to alleviating the dire needs both in Tigray and neighboring Afar and Amhara regions as well as laying the necessary foundations for a political solution for the conflict,” said Daniel.

Recalling the findings of its human rights investigation reports, the EHRC has called on all parties to acknowledge responsibility and implement the recommendations including to facilitate conditions for further human rights investigation work.

UK: “A Positive Breakthrough”

Vicky Ford, United Kingdom’s Under-Secretary of State for Africa, has expressed her country’s strong support for Ethiopia’s commitment to a humanitarian truce.

“Strongly support the Government of Ethiopia’s commitment to a humanitarian truce and access to Tigray. Tigrayan authorities should respond by ceasing fire and withdrawing from Afar.

Ford has also welcomed the TPLF statement, adding “making clear they will do everything they can to make the ceasefire successful.”

“Both sides subscribing to a truce is a positive breakthrough & all sides should work to ensure it is implemented and aid reaches those in need.”

Featured Image Caption: Workers unloading aid food and other humanitarian supplies after 79 WFP trucks arrived in Mekelle, Tigray, in November 2021 [Photo WFP]