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AU, Kenyatta to Head to Tigray for Agreement Evaluation

African Union negotiators for the implementation of permanent cessation of hostilities agreement between Ethiopia's government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front meet in Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 22, 2022.

African Union negotiators, led by former Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta, announced on Thursday a team would arrive in Tigrayan capital Mekele in the next few days to assess the implementation of the Ethiopia peace agreement.

Speaking at a press conference after the conclusion of the second round of talks between Ethiopian government representatives and Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) officials, Kenyatta, the AU appointed mediator, said the team would be in Mekele "before the end of this month."

Kenyatta said an agreement had been reached to give the AU team full access to monitor the implementation of the agreement.

"They have all concurred and agreed to give the monitoring and verification team of the African Union full access, full 360-degree viewpoint to ensure all the elements of the agreements are actually going to be implemented," Kenyatta said.

The meeting between AU negotiators, Ethiopian government representatives and Tigray officials began Wednesday to discuss the implementation of the peace agreement signed in November.

"The true statement that they need to make will be the statement they make when we are in Mekele in the next few days, observing and verifying the actions. Because documents are one thing, what we want now are the deliverables," Kenyatta said of the ongoing process.

The meeting comes as the rebel TPLF said some parts of the Tigray region are finding it difficult to access much-needed humanitarian assistance. The rebels blame the problems on the presence of Eritrean troops, who entered Tigray during the war, to support the Ethiopian government.

The Ethiopian government says more than 8 million people in the Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions have received humanitarian supplies since the signing of the peace deal.

The agreement has allowed the passage of humanitarian aid to Tigray and the restoration of telecommunication and banking systems after more than a year and a half.

Ethiopia's government and the TPLF signed a permanent cessation of hostilities after talks mediated by the African Union in South Africa.

This report includes information from Agence France-Presse, VOA Amharic's Kennedy Abate and VOA's Mohammed Yusuf.