Addis Abeba –Tigray topmost military commander General Tadesse Worede said nearly 65% of Tigray’s armed combatants were disengaged from front lines as part of efforts to implement the permanent cessation of hostilities agreement in Pretoria South Africa, followed by the executive plan on its implementations signed in Nairobi, Kenya.
While briefing the regional media on Sunday, gen Tadesse described the re-deployment of 60-65% of the Tigrayan combatants from all front lines to the places prepared for them.
Article 11 of the Pretoria agreement states that, “The AU, through the High-Level Panel, shall appoint a team of African experts to monitor the implementation of the permanent cessation of hostilities agreed upon under Article 3 of this Agreement. The Parties shall appoint one expert each to work with the team of African Experts.” But it is not clear if the AU has a motioning and verification team deployed.
According to General Tadesse, despite the presence of security challenges due to the continued presence of the Eritrean forces and forces from the neighboring Amhara region, the Tigray command chain has been carrying out the peace accord.
Last week, a statement released by Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), said Tigrayan fighters have departed from Maykenetal, Zalambessa, Nebelet, Chercher, Kukufto, Hgumbirda, Beri Teklay and Abergele fronts following a joint committee consisting of military leaders from the federal government and Tigray armed combatants meeting in Shire town, in northwestern zone of the Tigray, “to outline the detailed plan for the disarmament of Tigray combatants”.
The commander says, “The signed peace agreement is being carried out on our part despite the availability of Eritrean army and Amhara special forces inside Tigray for that part is clearly stated to be accomplished by the Ethiopian Defense Force”.
He also emphasized that the withdrawal of Tigray forces from the war zone is being undertaken in a way that does not harm the morale and psychological status of the army and that it will be completed soon.
According to the commander in chief, although the group supposed to monitor and follow up the implementation of the signed peace deal has not yet come to the region, the entire task that needs to be done from Tigray side are being carried out.
“We are implementing what we have to do in line with the agreement”, he said, adding that we believe the Ethiopian defense forces is working to maintain the security of the region general Tadesse said.
The US State Department said on Friday that there has been a promising start in implementing the agreed peace pact.
“The fighting stopped within 72 hours, four corridors opened for humanitarian transportation to Tigray, affected areas of Afar and Amhara region. Assistance has started flowing in increasing amounts every day,” Spokesperson for the US State department Ned Price told reporters.
He also said that a Joint Disarmament Committee was launched last week in Shire with military representatives from both parties assisted by the African Union, working out modalities and timelines to consolidate the peace. “The Pretoria Cessation of Hostilities Agreement remains the best chance for peace in northern Ethiopia, and the United States is committed to supporting the parties as they fulfill their commitments under that agreement.”
He emphasized that “implementation of the agreement also requires the full withdrawal of Eritrean forces as well as non-ENDF forces from Tigray.” However, he admitted that “much work remains to be done, including on human rights accountability. “We call for international human rights monitors to be given access to the conflict area.” AS