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Ethiopia and Tigray Agree to a Truce

In a surprising twist, both sides reached an agreement to halt their long-standing conflict.

The Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces have agreed to a “permanent cessation of hostilities.” This comes a week after the two forces started peace talks in South Africa.

On Wednesday, November 2, Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who meditated the deal, said that Ethiopia’s government and Tigrayan forces had made a truce to begin an “orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament” along with “restoration of law and order,” “restoration of services” and “unhindered access to humanitarian supplies”.

In a statement on Wednesday, Tigray's Getachew Reda said that it was ready to honor the recent development.

“We are ready to implement and expedite this agreement,” Reda said. "In order to address the pains of our people, we have made concessions because we have to build trust. Ultimately, the fact that we have reached a point where we have now signed an agreement speaks volumes about the readiness on the part of the two sides to lay the past behind them to chart a new path of peace."

Edward "Ned" Price of the United States Department of State also said that the recent agreement was a step in the right direction.

“The African Union’s announcement of the signing of a cessation of hostilities between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front represents an important step towards peace,” Price told the media.

BBC reports that this is not the first time that the two parties have agreed to put a stop to their ongoing conflict. Earlier in the year, both sides agreed to stop the war, but that agreement was broken in August, which was only a few months after both sides originally committed to it.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed applauded the deal and said it would be implemented.

“The commitment to peace remains steadfast. And our commitment to collaborating for the implementation of the agreement is equally strong,” Ahmed said in a statement.

This time, reports have stated that Ethiopia's government officials as well as representatives of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) have signed a disarmament plan and the restoration of crucial services, including aid supplies.

The war started over two days ago, on November 4, 2020, and this kickstarted an ongoing battle between Tigrayans and leading Ethiopian forces. The entire debacle escalated when forces loyal to the party in Tigray took over a military barracks, triggering the Ethiopian army to seize the region.

The conflict killed many and displaced millions from their homes, while leaving others hungry and destitute.

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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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