Ethiopia: Tigray rebels ready for AU-led talks

This announcement was welcomed byAU as a unique opportunity.

The government of Tigray is ready to participate in a solid peace process under the auspices of the African Unionreads a statement from the authorities of the rebel region.

Furthermore, we are ready to respect an immediate and mutually accepted cessation of hostilities, in order to create a favorable atmospherethey added.

The move comes among major diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, after renewed fighting last month broke a truce established in March.

The Ethiopian government had long insisted that any peace process should be negotiated under the auspices of theAUbased in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

But the People’s Liberation Front of Tigray (TPLF) until then had always refused the mediation of the special envoy of theAU in the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, denouncing his proximity with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The African Union (AU) Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo.

Photo: dpa via Getty Images / EDUARDO SOTERAS

A welcome step forward

The President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, greeted a unique opportunity to end nearly two years of war, and called UA, incluant des partenaires internationaux mutuellement agréés”,”text”:”les deux parties à œuvrer urgemment à la mise en place d’un cessez-le-feu, à s’engager dans des négociations directes, dans le cadre d’un processus sous l’égide de l’UA, incluant des partenaires internationaux mutuellement agréés”}}”>the two sides to work urgently to establish a ceasefire, to start direct negotiations, as part of a process under the auspices of theAUincluding agreed international partners.

Ethiopian Minister of State for Peace Taye Dendea on Twitter called the TPLF announcement apositive developmentwhile emphasizing it the so-called TDF (Tigray Defense Forces) must be disarmed before the start of the peace talks.

The announcement of TPLFwhich coincides with the Ethiopian New Year, does not hint at a precondition, but the Tigrinya rebels say they want a peace process crediblewith mediators acceptable by both sides, as well as by international observers.

Earlier this month, the head of TPLFDebretsion Gebremichael, had offered a conditional truce by providing a free humanitarian access and the restoration of essential services in Tigray, which suffers from food shortages and a lack of electricity, communications and banking services.

A burning truck on a highway in a desert landscape generates a cloud of smoke.

A World Food Program (WFP) truck transporting wheat to Tigray is engulfed in flames in June 2022.

Photo: dpa via Getty Images / EDUARDO SOTERAS

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, he also called for the withdrawal of Eritrean forces from all over Ethiopia and Tigray.

Sunday’s statement said a negotiating team including Getachew Reda, the spokesman for the TPLFand General Tsadkan Gebretensae, former chief of staff of the Ethiopian army now in the central military command of Tigray, is ready for immediate distribution.

Last month, Mr. Debretsion revealed that two rounds of confidential one-on-one meetings had been held between senior civilian and military officials, the first recognition by either side of direct contact.

Fighting has raged on several fronts in northern Ethiopia since hostilities resumed on August 24, with both sides accusing each other of breaking a truce reached in March.

Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, sent troops to Tigray in November 2020 to overthrow the TPLFafter what he had seen as attacks on federal army camps.

But the rebels had managed to recapture most of Tigray in June 2021, before the fighting reached a stalemate.

Leave a Comment