The African Union has welcomed the avowed commitment of the two parties in the Ethiopian conflict, to the restoration of peace and stability in Ethiopia, following the invitation to the AU-led peace talks due to start soon in South Africa.
On Wednesday, the Ethiopian government accepted an invitation by AU to participate in peace talks aimed at ending a two-year conflict with Tigray forces.
The African Union sent the invitation on Saturday (1st October 2022).
In a statement, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat noted that the peace talks will be conducted through a high level panel of eminent Africans, established purposefully for the Ethiopian peace process.
The panel is led by Olusegun Obasanjo, AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa and former President of Nigeria, along with Uhuru Kenyatta, former President of Kenya, and Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa and Member of the AU Panel of the Wise.
While noting the overriding imperative for peace in the African continent, the Chairperson reposed full confidence in the vast experience and leadership capacity of the distinguished panel members to ensure constructive engagements and dialogue between the parties towards a sustainable, inclusive negotiated settlement to the conflict in Northern Ethiopia.
Furthermore, the Faki commended partners for their continued value-adding support to the AU-led process, and encourages them to strengthen the partnership with the AU to achieve lasting peace in Ethiopia.
He reiterated the call upon the parties to give peace a chance in the supreme interest of all Ethiopian people and for the broader Horn of Africa region.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Government of Ethiopia noted that the talks should only be mediated by the African Union and should be held without any pre-conditions.
“The Government of federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia remains committed to adopting all possible measures to resolve the conflict in a manner that ensures lasting peace, territorial integrity of the country and will continue upholding this commitment.” Read the statement.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national security adviser Redwan Hussein said on Twitter that the government had “accepted this invitation which is in line with our principled position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the need to have talks without preconditions”.
Fighting has raged in northern Ethiopia since hostilities resumed on August 24, with both sides accusing the other of firing first and breaking a March truce.
The combat first broke out around Tigray’s southeastern border, but has since spread along to areas west and north of the initial clashes, with the TPLF accusing Ethiopian and Eritrean forces of launching a massive joint offensive on September 1.
The March truce had allowed aid convoys to travel to Tigray’s capital Mekelle for the first time since mid-December.
While welcoming the Declaration of an indefinite Humanitarian Truce by the Government of Ethiopia over the Tigray region in AU chairperson said it would expedite the provision of much-needed humanitarian aid to people in need in the region plagued by conflict.
Faki further welcomed the announcement by the Regional Government of Tigray committing to observe the said humanitarian truce and also welcomed its declaration of an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Kenya has reiterated its support to the ongoing African Union-led peace efforts in Ethiopia.
President William Ruto said stability in Ethiopia is as critical as is the region’s noting that Africa must strive to co-exist for more transformation to be realised in the continent.
Dr Ruto spoke Thursday when he held talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at his office in Addis Ababa.
“Insecurity and violence are threats to sustainable development. We must always work towards living peacefully,” noted Dr Ruto.
During the meeting, the two leaders agreed on the modalities to tackle terrorism and violent extremism so as to bring peace in the Horn of Africa.