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REUTERS/Tiksa NegeriBENGALARU, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization said on Friday it still does not have the unfettered access to Ethiopia's northern Tigray region stipulated in a truce signed a month ago.
Troops from Eritrea, to the north, and forces from the neighbouring Ethiopian region of Amhara, to the south, fought alongside Ethiopia's military in Tigray but were not party to the ceasefire.
"That peace process has not yet resulted in the kinds of full access, unfettered access and in the massive scale of medical and health assistance that the people of Tigray need," WHO's emergencies director Mike Ryan said.
Ethiopia's Minister of Health Lia Tadesse, State Minister Redwan Hussien, and government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not respond to requests for comment.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in October accused Ethiopia's government of using the denial of food and healthcare as weapons of war in Tigray.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government and Tigrayan forces signed a ceasefire on Nov. 2 to end two years of fighting that have killed thousands, shattered infrastructure and uprooted millions from their homes.
The ICRC described the delivery into the regional capital Mekelle as the first international aid into Tigray since a previous ceasefire broke in August.
We have discussed, agreed and signed," Abiy told Ethiopia's national parliament in his first comments on the ceasefire since it came into force.
Abiy said on Tuesday that a territorial dispute between forces in Tigray and the neighbouring Amhara region should be resolved legally and through discussion.
Authorities in Amhara last week welcomed the ceasefire agreement but made no mention of the disputed territory.
The deal will be put into effect "immediately", mediator Olusegun Obasanjo told a news conference before the signing.
Both sides said they were committed to the declaration, stressing it was the only way to restore peace and stability.
One of TPLF's representatives, General Tadesse Werede, said the declaration on implementation had given them hope that the suffering of the people in Tigray would end.
The two sides agreed to a permanent cessation of hostilities in an unexpected diplomatic breakthrough in South Africa on Nov. 2.
Reporting by Ayenat Mersie, Writing by Duncan Miriri and Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Clelia OzielOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The truce has raised hopes humanitarian aid can start moving back into a region where hundreds of thousands face famine.
Representatives of Ethiopia's military and government and forces from Tigray are in the Kenyan capital Nairobi to discuss how to begin implementing the ceasefire, with the talks set to last three or four days.
Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Tigray authorities, said the talks were to figure out implementation of the agreement.
In a statement on Monday, the AU said it expected the outcomes of the talks to "include modalities for silencing the guns, humanitarian access and the restoration of services in the Tigray region".
The ceasefire agreement says Ethiopia's army will safeguard the country against "foreign incursion" but analysts are worried about whether Eritrea - the TPLF's sworn enemy - will listen.
Creditors and investors are closely monitoring how China, the world's largest bilateral lender, is managing debt negotiations around the world.
The policy bank has extended to Zambia more than half of Chinese loans while a $982 million loan was made jointly with the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
Including commercial lending, Zambia government data showed it owed more than a third of its $17.27 billion external debt to Chinese lenders by end-2021.
Reuters GraphicsThe bank also leads China's team in Ethiopia's bilateral debt talks, its state finance minister told Reuters last month.
In 2018, EximBank agreed to extend repayment on a loan worth at least $2.5 billion for a railway between Addis Ababa and Djibouti by 20 years.
"I'm very happy - because this will put a hold on the suffering," said a Tigrayan man in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa who declined to be named out of fear of repercussions at his place of work.
All sides fighting in the Tigray war committed violations that may amount to war crimes, according to a joint investigation by the United Nations and Ethiopia's state-appointed human rights commission.
We haven't even gotten any voice messages from him," the Tigrayan man in Addis Ababa told Reuters.
Human Rights Watch, citing witnesses, said 23 civilians were killed by Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters in Kobo at that time.
Just, literally everything," said Andom Gebreyesus, who ran a tour company in Tigray before the war.
CNN —When Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, he was lauded as a regional peacemaker.
A year later, he launched a conflict that spiraled into a brutal civil war, spawning one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
In November 2020, Abiy ordered a military offensive in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region and promised that the clash would be resolved quickly.
Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Tigray conflict has its roots in tensions that go back generations in Ethiopia.
For months at the start of the conflict, Abiy denied that civilians were being harmed or that soldiers from Eritrea had joined the fight.
CNN —It’s almost a year since marathon runner Gotytom Gebreslase last spoke to her parents over the phone, a detachment she feels most strongly during races.
“My wish is to meet them soon – that would make me happy.”Gebreslase breaks the tape at the World Athletics Championships.
Some reassurance over her parents’ safety arrived following Gebreslase’s victory at the world championships in July, when she came across a TV report featuring an interview with her mother.
“The result I got in the world championships built my confidence,” she says.
“When I started running, [my parents] didn’t discourage me, they were encouraging me – especially my mom,” says Gebreslase.
Eritrea, which has fought alongside neighboring Ethiopia, was notably not part of the peace talks.
Eritrean forces have been blamed for some of the conflict’s worst abuses, including gang-rapes, and witnesses have described killings and lootings by Eritrean forces even during the peace talks.
Forces from Ethiopia’s neighboring Amhara region also have been fighting Tigray ones, but Amhara representatives are also not part of the peace talks.
The conflict began in November 2020, less than a year after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for making peace with Eritrea, which borders the Tigray region.
In a speech Wednesday before the peace talks’ announcement, Ethiopia’s prime minster said that “we need to replicate the victory we got on the battlefield in peace efforts, too.
Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels will eventually be disarmed and demobilized, according to the statement.
“This is not the end of the peace process but the beginning of it,” Obasanjo said.
‘Horrific’ tollThe peace process has been fitful until now.
Renewed peace talks began on October 24, marking the first time the two warring parties had met publicly since the conflict erupted.
In a separate statement, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also celebrated the conclusion of the talks saying, “our commitment to peace remains steadfast.
[1/2] Former Nigerian president and African Union envoy Olesegun Obasanjo arrives for the signing of the AU-led negotiations to resolve the conflict in northern Ethiopia, in Pretoria , South Africa, November 2, 2022.
Summary Obasanjo stepped down as Nigeria's president in 2007Now aged 85, he took up peace-making in retirementMediated in crises from Ivory Coast to MozambiqueJOHANNESBURG, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Olusegun Obasanjo has had mixed results as a mediator of intractable conflicts across Africa since he stepped down as Nigeria's president in 2007, although he has never tired of trying.
Obasanjo stepped down from Nigeria's presidency in 2007 and presided over elections that marked the first handover of power from one civilian head of state to another in Nigeria since it became independent from Britain in 1960.
The test now is whether Ethiopia's conflict is on track for a permanent peace deal or just a temporary respite.
After Abacha's death in 1998, Obasanjo was released and was elected as civilian president in 1999.
NAIROBI, Nov 2 (Reuters) - The Ethiopian government and regional forces from Tigray agreed on Wednesday to cease hostilities, a surprise diplomatic breakthrough after nearly two years of war.
"This moment is not the end of the peace process.
Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is critical for its success."
The lasting solution can only be dialogue."
We must be true to the letter and to the spirit of this agreement."
AfricaParties in Ethiopia's Tigray region war reach trucePostedThe Ethiopian government and regional forces from Tigray signed a truce on Wednesday (November 2), agreeing to end the civil war that killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands facing famine.
This report produced by Kristy Kilburn.
[1/3] A destroyed tank is seen in a field in the aftermath of fighting between the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) forces in Kasagita town, in Afar region, Ethiopia, February 25, 2022.
Earlier on Wednesday, the AU had invited media to what it described as a briefing by Obasanjo.
It was only when the event began, about three hours behind schedule, that it became clear a truce was about to be signed.
Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is critical for its success," said Obasanjo, adding that this would be supervised and monitored by a high-level AU panel.
Neither Eritrea nor the regional forces participated in the talks in South Africa and there was no mention at Wednesday's ceremony of whether they would abide by the truce.
Summary Oromo groups say hundreds killed in air strikesNo comment from government and army spokespersonsAlleged strikes come as Tigray peace talks startNAIROBI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Two organisations from Ethiopia's Oromiya region have accused the army of conducting air strikes there in recent days which they said had killed hundreds of civilians, just as peace talks on the separate Tigray conflict were about to start.
read moreIn statements sent to Reuters by text message and email and in posts on Twitter, the OLF and the OLA listed locations in Oromiya where they said a series of deadly air strikes had taken place between Thursday of last week and Tuesday this week.
We've been going to funerals this whole time," he said, adding that another air strike had hit a nearby school on Monday, but no one had been killed as it was empty at the time.
On Thursday morning, Reuters asked Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu, military spokesman Colonet Getnet Adane, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's spokeswoman Billene Seyoum and Oromiya regional government spokesman Hailu Adugna for comment on the alleged air strikes.
OLA spokesman Odaa Tarbii posted a video on Twitter on Tuesday that purported to show the aftermath of an air strike in West Shewa.
REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File PhotoNAIROBI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - An Ethiopian government delegation and rival Tigray forces were due to meet in South Africa for the first formal peace talks since war broke out two years ago.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterThe conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine.
Kindeya Gebrehiwot, a spokesman for the Tigray forces, said the Tigrayan delegation had already arrived.
Both sides had committed to the talks in South Africa earlier this month, but they were delayed for logistical reasons.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterReporting by Nairobi Newsroom Editing by Alexander WinningOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Friday granted Temporary Protected Status for 18 months for Ethiopians currently residing in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security said.
"The United States recognizes the ongoing armed conflict and the extraordinary and temporary conditions engulfing Ethiopia, and DHS is committed to providing temporary protection to those in need," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement announcing the designation.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterThe conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine.
An estimated 27,000 Ethiopians in the United States will be eligible for TPS under the new designation, a Homeland Security department spokesperson said.
To qualify for the program, Ethiopians in the United States will have to show they have been continuously resided in the United States since October 20, 2022, and those who attempt to travel to the United States after that date would not be eligible, the department said.
Guterres told reporters the United Nations was ready to support the bloc in every possible way to end the Ethiopian people's "nightmare".
The European Union said the joint offensive by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces should stop immediately and the Eritreans should withdraw from Ethiopian territory.
It also urged Tigray forces to refrain from any further military operations.
Spokespersons for the Ethiopian government and army, for the Eritrean government and for the Tigray forces did not respond to requests for comment on events in Shire.
The Tigray authorities said on Sunday their forces would abide by an immediate truce and said a "humanitarian catastrophe" was unfolding.
NAIROBI, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Ethiopian government forces and their allies on Monday captured Shire, one of the biggest cities in the northern region of Tigray, from regional forces, two diplomatic and humanitarian sources said.
The federal government and allied forces, which include neighbouring Eritrea's military, have been fighting Tigray forces on and off since late 2020.
The conflict has killed thousands of civilians, uprooted millions and left hundreds of thousands now facing possible famine.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterReporting by Nairobi Newsroom; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Estelle ShirbonOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
NAIROBI, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The chair of the African Union on Sunday called on those involved in the two-year-old conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region to implement an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and agree to direct peace talks.
AU chair Moussa Faki said he was following reports of escalating violence in Tigray with grave concern.
"The chairperson strongly calls for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian services," the AU said in a statement.
Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray forces, did not respond to requests for comment.
African Union-led peace talks proposed for earlier this month were delayed for logistical reasons.
NAIROBI, Oct 15 (Reuters) - An aid worker was among three people killed during an air strike on the town of Shire in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, the International Rescue Committee said on Saturday.
The aid worker, who worked for IRC's health and nutrition team, died of injuries sustained while delivering assistance to women and children on Friday, IRC said in a statement.
Another IRC staff member was injured in the attack, while two other civilians were killed and three wounded, the statement said.
Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu, military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane and the prime minister's spokesperson Billene Seyoum did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Friday's incident.
Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel and Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the Tigray forces, also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Members of a government-aligned militia earlier this year on the outskirts of Abala, a town near the rebel-held city of Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region.
Cross-border fighting has flared again in the bloody conflict pitting Ethiopia and its allies against rebels from the country’s Tigray region, threatening to destabilize a swath of East Africa as U.S. diplomats push to restart stalled peace negotiations.
Tens of thousands of soldiers from Eritrea, which is backing Ethiopia’s government, have opened three new fronts in recent days, according to diplomats and analysts.
Aid agencies say the fighting in the northern region of Tigray is the heaviest since hostilities resumed in August, with artillery and drone strikes destroying civilian infrastructure and cutting off deliveries of food to more than five million people.
NAIROBI, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Satellite images show the mobilisation this month of military forces in towns on either side of Ethiopia's northern border with Eritrea, a private U.S. company said on Wednesday.
Tigray forces have battled Ethiopia's federal army and its allies, including Eritrean troops and fighters from neighbouring Ethiopian regions, over the course of a nearly two-year war.
1/2 A satellite image shows the mobilization of military forces in the town of Shiraro, Tigray region, Ethiopia, September 26, 2022.
Eritrean troops supported the Ethiopean military in earlier phases of the war.
Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu, military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane and the prime minister's spokesperson Billene Seyoum did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the images on Wednesday.
Members of Ethiopian Orthodox choir sing during the Meskel festival celebration to commemorate the discovery of the true cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified on at Meskel square, in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, September 26, 2022.
REUTERS/Tiksa NegeriADDIS ABABA, Sept 27 (Reuters) - The shadow of war hung over Ethiopia's Meskel festival in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, with high security, low turnout and Orthodox Christian priests calling for peace and forgiveness in their sermons.
As they do year after year, hundreds of priests, musicians and singers clad in white robes came together on the vast expanse of the capital's Meskel Square.
"Just like the mothers were crying under the cross, our mothers in the North are also crying.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterReporting by Addis Ababa newsroom; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Andrew HeavensOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The percentage of children in Tigray receiving routine vaccines has fallen below 10% this year, data from the Tigray Health Bureau shows, undoing years of government efforts to boost immunisation rates.
read moreMEASLES OUTBREAKSHealth Minister Lia Tadesse said vaccines had been provided to Tigray this year and that more were ready to be delivered once conditions allowed.
The rate across Ethiopia was 65% in 2021, according to data from the U.N. children's agency UNICEF.
Ethiopia's health minister Lia said 860,000 doses of measles vaccines were delivered to Tigray last December and additional doses were delivered on April 2.
WFP spokesperson Claire Nevill, however, said the agency was waiting on clearances from Ethiopia's government.