Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement that it will resume flights to the capital of the war-torn northern region of Tigray from tomorrow, Wednesday, on what will be the first commercial flight to Tigray in about 18 months.
The announcement comes a day after a delegation of government officials and heads of public institutions visited Mekelle last month to discuss the implementation of the peace deal.
The deal, which included promises to restore services, ended two years of fighting between the Ethiopian federal government and its allies against Tigrayan forces that left thousands dead and millions displaced.
“The resumption of these flights will allow families to be reunited, facilitate the resumption of commercial activities, stimulate the flow of tourists and provide more opportunities that will serve the community,” said Mesfin Tasiou, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, who was part of the delegation. for Mekele. in the current situation.
A travel agent in Addis Ababa said the first flight to Mekelle was fully booked within hours of the announcement.
Almost the entire region is now connected to the national electricity grid, state media reported on Tuesday, and communication services have been restored in 27 towns in the region.
“Meanwhile, the implementation of the transfer of heavy weapons and in particular the return to constitutional duty of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces in Mekelle is expected on Thursday,” Ethiopia’s national security adviser Ridwan Hussein, said on Twitter.
He cited the Nairobi Accords implementing the peace agreement, which called for the surrender of heavy weapons and the withdrawal of foreign and non-federal forces, without naming specific foreign forces.
Eritrean forces, who fought alongside Ethiopian federal forces but did not sign the peace accords, were accused of looting towns and arresting and killing civilians after signing them.
An aid worker in the town of Shire in Tigrayan told Reuters he had seen Eritrean soldiers on Tuesday morning.
Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the TPLF party, called for his departure.