Ethiopian, Tigrayan forces launch hotline as new peace talks begin
Published: Nov 07, 2022 10:41 PM
The Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces have established a telephone hotline to help maintain a cease-fire struck last week, and both sides met in Kenya on Monday for a new round of talks on implementing the truce.

Ethiopia's government and regional forces from Tigray agreed on Wednesday to cease hostilities after talks mediated by the African Union (AU), a diplomatic breakthrough two years into a war that has killed thousands and displaced millions.

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 cease-fire, with the talks set to last three or four days.

"The first sign for me of the progress after the signing of the agreement is the fact that between them they have exchanged a hotline," AU chief mediator Olusegun Obasanjo told a news conference in Nairobi.

According to an official familiar with the talks, the hotline will address any flare-up in fighting and coordinate disengagements, with both sides recognizing "the challenge of fully communicating with all their units to stop fighting."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's national security adviser and lead negotiator, Redwan Hussien, said on Twitter that the Nairobi meetings would ensure "safety & expedites humanitarian flow to areas hitherto inaccessible."

Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray authorities, said the talks were to figure out implementation of the agreement. "We will honor the commitments we have made," Getachew told media in Nairobi.

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."