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Ethiopia combatants ‘agree to facilitate humanitarian access’

Chief of Staff of Ethiopian Armed Forces Field Marshall Birhanu Jula (left) and Head of the Tigray Forces Lieutenant General Tadesse Werede (right) exchange signed copies of an agreement, at Ethiopian peace talks in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov 12, 2022. (BRIAN INGANGA / AP)

ADDIS ABABA – Senior commanders of the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front have agreed to facilitate humanitarian access in conflict-hit parts of northern Ethiopia, the African Union said Saturday.

The parties to the conflict have agreed to promote unhindered humanitarian access for all in need in Tigray and neighboring regions, and facilitate the movement of humanitarian aid workers, the AU said in a statement released after a four-day senior commanders' meeting sponsored by the organization.

The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front have agreed to provide security guarantees for aid workers and humanitarian organizations as well as protection for civilians in accordance with the provisions of the "permanent cessation of hostilities" agreement signed by the two sides on Nov 2

They have also agreed to provide security guarantees for aid workers and humanitarian organizations as well as protection for civilians in accordance with the provisions of the "permanent cessation of hostilities" agreement signed by the two sides on Nov 2, said the AU.

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Meanwhile, the parties have agreed to establish a joint committee to implement a comprehensive Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program, it said.

Speaking highly of these confidence-building measures, the AU encouraged the two sides to stride towards the full implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement, as part of overall efforts to end the conflict and restore peace, security and stability in Ethiopia.

READ MORE: UN: Humanitarians ready Tigray relief convoys as war stops

The second most populous nation in Africa has seen a devastating conflict between government-allied troops and forces loyal to the TPLF since November 2020, which has left millions in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.