Warring sides agree truce in Ethiopia to allow aid into Tigray

The warring sides in Ethiopia agreed to a conditional truce in the northern Tigray region, where a civil war that’s raged since November 2020 has displaced millions of people and brought hundreds of thousands of others to the brink of starvation.

The dissident Tigray People’s Liberation Front said it will implement a “cessation of hostilities effective immediately” once it sees evidence that sufficient humanitarian aid is being delivered to the region. The TPLF’s statement came hours after the government on Thursady declared a humanitarian truce and said it was making the “maximum effort” to facilitate the free flow of emergency assistance.

The tentative agreement is the closest the two sides have come to a cease-fire since the war began. It may serve as a step towards the resumption of humanitarian assistance to people in Tigray and other regions affected by the conflict, as well as a step towards a political process to resolve the dispute between Tigray and the federal government.

The yield on Ethiopia’s 2026 Eurobond was little changed after the announcement, trading 3 basis points higher at 21.05% at 9:34 am in London.

The truce came days after US Envoy to the Horn of Africa David Satterfield’s visit to Ethiopia, where he called for increased humanitarian access.

“We expect this declaration to be quickly followed by the movement of life-saving assistance,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The United Nations and non-governmental organizations say no aid has been received in Tigray since mid-December. Deliveries have been slowed by bureaucratic hurdles, while convoys have been blocked from traveling there because of ongoing fighting in the Afar region that borders Tigray.

“The delivery of humanitarian aid is crucial for the population of Tigray, who have not received any form of such aid since December and are living in dire conditions since the start of the conflict in November 2020,” William Davison, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Ethiopia, said in an email. “The unconditional and unrestricted delivery of aid could also help create enough trust to pave the way for cease-fire talks and, eventually, dialogue.”

© 2022 Bloomberg

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