AU calls opposition parties to negotiation in Ethiopia

In this image from video, Tigray's regional leader Debretsion Gebremichael speaks during an interview in Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on July 7, 2021. (AP Photo) RECOMMENDED Armed al-Shabab fighters ride on pickup trucks as they prepare to travel into the city, just outside the capital. Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 8, 2008. (AP Photo) Top al-Shabab leader Nadir killed in joint airstrike in Somalia SOMALIA

The African Union has invited Ethiopia’s government and rival Tigray forces to peace talks in South Africa this weekend aimed at ending a two-year conflict, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Three diplomatic sources speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the authenticity of the Oct. 1 letter, written by AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki to Debretsion Gebremichael, who leads Tigray’s ruling political party.

The sources said an identical letter had been sent to the Ethiopian government, while two of them said neither side had yet confirmed its participation.

Ethiopia’s government and the leaders of the northern Tigray region have both said they are prepared to participate in AU-mediated talks to end fighting that has killed thousands of civilians and uprooted millions since November 2020.

But no formal talks have taken place, during a five-month cease-fire between March and August, and intense fighting has since resumed across Tigray.

Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for Debretsion’s Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), said he was not aware of imminent talks.

There were no immediate responses to requests for comment from Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu, the prime minister’s national security adviser Redwan Hussein and the prime minister’s spokesperson Billene Seyoum.

Ebba Kalondo, the spokesperson for AU Commission Chair Faki’s office, declined to confirm the authenticity of the letter.

The letter said Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union’s high representative for the Horn of Africa, would lead the negotiations with support from former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Tigrayan forces said last month they were ready for a cease-fire and would accept an AU-led peace process after previously raising objections to AU proposals.

Ethiopia’s federal government said in June that the AU should facilitate the talks.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government accuses the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition until Abiy came to power in 2018, of trying to reassert Tigrayan dominance over Ethiopia.

The TPLF accuses Abiy of over-centralizing power and oppressing Tigrayans. Both dismiss each other’s accusations.

Tags : AUEthiopia
Adewale Adenrele

The author Adewale Adenrele

Journalist, PR, Researcher, Tourism& Cultural promoter, Social commentator. Correspondent @Africandevmag

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