Ethiopia, Tigrayan forces accept African Union-led peace talks

Date:

  • Peace talks in South Africa this weekend
  • The conflict has been raging since 2020 and has uprooted millions of people

NAIROBI, Oct. 5 (Reuters) – The government of Ethiopia and rival Tigrayan forces said on Wednesday they had accepted an invitation from the African Union to participate in peace talks aimed at ending a two-year conflict.

The talks, scheduled for this weekend in South Africa, will be the first formal negotiations between the two sides since the outbreak of war in November 2020, two diplomatic sources said.

The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and uprooted millions. Both sides had previously said they were willing to participate in AU-brokered talks, but fierce fighting continues in Tigray, a northern region bordering Eritrea.

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The Ethiopian government “has accepted this invitation which is in line with our principled position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the need to talk without preconditions,” Redwan Hussein, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national security adviser, said on Twitter.

In a statement, Tigrayan forces said they had accepted the invitation and asked for clarification as to who had been invited as participants, observers and guarantors.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said last month it was ready for a ceasefire and would accept an AU-led peace process after previously raising objections to the AU’s proposals.

Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU’s High Representative for the Horn of Africa, will lead the negotiations with support from former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African Vice President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, according to one of the AU’s invitation letters seen by Reuters.

No formal talks between the two sides were held during a five-month ceasefire between March and August. Fighting resumed on 24 August.

Abiy’s government has accused the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition until Abiy came to power in 2018, of trying to reaffirm Tigrayan dominance over Ethiopia.

The TPLF accuses Abiy of centralizing power and suppressing Tigrayans. Both deny each other’s accusations.

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Reporting by Giulia Paravicini; Editing by Toby Chopra and Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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