A surprise deal has been reached in Ethiopia’s civil war with both sides agreeing to end their two-year conflict that has led to thousands of deaths and warnings of a food crisis.
The African Union (AU) has called it a “new dawn”, says AFP news agency.
Almost 90% of people in the northern region of Tigray are in need of food aid, the World Health Organization says – while around a third of the region’s children suffer from malnutrition.
This is not the first ceasefire in the conflict – a previous ceasefire was violated in August, just months after both sides agreed to it.
However, this time the agreements have gone further.
Ethiopian government officials and representatives of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have signed a plan to disarm and restore essential services, including aid supplies.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who brokered the deal agreed after a week of talks in South Africa, said it was just the beginning of the peace process.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was “a welcome first step, which we hope can begin to bring some comfort to the millions of Ethiopian civilians who have really suffered during this conflict.”