Nairobi — Ethiopian officials have for the first time in nearly two years arrived in Tigray’s capital Mekelle to join in overseeing implementation of a November peace deal.
The speaker of Ethiopia’s parliament Tagesse Chaffo Dullo arrived in Tigray’s capital Mekelle on Monday as leader of the first federal delegation to the region since war broke out in November 2020.
The delegation, which state media says includes members of Ethiopia’s National Dialogue Commission, are in Tigray to work on implementing an African-Union brokered peace deal to end the deadly two-year conflict.
The November deal signed in South Africa saw Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front agree to cease fighting and for foreign fighters to leave, for the TPLF to disarm, and for blocked aid and services to be restored.
The visit will be seen as a sign that the peace deal is holding, despite TPLF allegations and reports of continued killings, looting and rape by Amhara region militias and Eritrean forces.
Eritrea and the regional militias were not party to the peace deal.
Eritrea and Ethiopia have denied Asmara’s involvement in Tigray, though last year Eritrea acknowledged its troops’ presence and said they would be withdrawn.
Mediators from Kenya and the African Union are also expected to visit Mekelle this week after Ethiopia and the TPLF agreed Thursday to a joint monitoring team.
Ethiopia has gradually lifted a blockade on desperately needed food and medical aid to Tigray and restored some telecommunications.
The two-year conflict is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.
But information is hard to verify in Tigray and Ethiopia has also blocked journalists from entering the region.