Federal government visits Ethiopia's Tigray in peace 'milestone'

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Ethiopian Speaker of the Parliament Tagesse Chafo responds to questions at the Parliament in Addis Ababa
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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) -A delegation from Ethiopia's federal government visited the capital of the war-torn Tigray region on Monday, to oversee the implementation of last month's peace agreement, the government communication service and the region's ruling party said.

It is the first high-level federal delegation to travel to Tigray in two years, the government said. Tagesse Chafo, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, led the delegation.

"This gesture is an attestation to the peace agreement getting on the right track and progressing," the statement said.

Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), said the visit, which included ministers and heads of public enterprises such as Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiotelecom, was "a milestone in the peace agreement".

"Fruitful discussions were held & important understanding reached. The government's gesture to green-light the long-overdue restoration of services is commendable," Getachew wrote on Twitter.

The federal government and Tigrayan forces signed an agreement to permanently cease hostilities on Nov. 2, after two years of fighting that killed thousands and displaced millions.

A follow-up agreement on the disarmament of TPLF fighters, humanitarian access guarantees and entry of the Ethiopian military into the Tigrayan capital of Mekele was signed on Nov. 12.

(Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; Editing by Hereward Holland, Kirsten Donovan)