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Tigray Truce: Analysts Question Long Term Sustainability

FILE: A man crouches to inspect a damaged playground following an air strike in Mekele, the capital of Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, August 26, 2022 . Tigrai TV/Reuters TV via REUTERS

Analysts are questioning commitment by factions in Ethiopia's two-year conflict to ensure lasting peace, while hailing the historic deal reached in Pretoria.

African Union mediator Olusegun Obasanjo announced Wednesday that after two years of pitched fighting, ''The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as the systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament."

Ethiopia's federal government and leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), also agreed to uphold fundamental human rights, democratic norms and principles as well as ensure civilian protection.

Temitope Olodo, Africa Security Forum's president, told VOA that although it's imperative to clamp down on weaponry used in the conflict, a 30-day disarmament ultimatum [of Tigrayan TPLF combatants] is ''ambitious'', but added that such a move will be affected by lessons learned from other conflicts on the continent.

''It's quite important that weapons are taken back because those are the weapons that (were) used for all the atrocities by both sides, Olodo said, adding "if they miss it [the 30-day target] by a few days, it doesn't really matter as far as no conflict ensues again, but I'm hopeful they can achieve it.''

He notes the importance of collecting armaments because, he says, ''Those weapons could fall into the hands of criminals... look at Mali, Nigeria, Niger and Chad for example - some of the weapons from Libya have found their way into those countries and (are) responsible for the havoc across the Sahel region,'' he said.

Olodo also praised the federal government for its resolve at lifting the terrorist designation of the TPLF movement noting that it signals ''a genuine belief in the peace accord.''

Declan Galvin at Nairobi-based risk advisory firm, WS Insight told VOA that the agreement will help provide badly needed relief for victims of the conflict.

''They have actually reached this deal sooner than many analysts would have expected., " he said. "And so that's positive. That means that at least at this juncture, both sides have found some kind of common ground, which is notoriously difficult in situations like this.''

Galvin added ''This is going to provide very important humanitarian access to people who have been ravaged by this conflict, who are food deprived and need urgent attention. This is really good."

The analyst noted that although the news provides a positive twist to the turmoil, it remains to be seen if parties would adhere to the pact to ensure sustainability in the medium to long term.

''There was not a lot of details around what else the opposing forces have agreed to," Galvin said.

"Those details need to be analyzed further in order for us to assess the sustainability of this agreement, like what the future of Tigrayan leaders in an Ethiopian state will be and what will be the concern of Asmara regarding future peace deals.''