NAIROBI — The Ethiopian government and rival Tiglayan military said Wednesday they had accepted an invitation from the African Union (AU) to join peace talks aimed at ending a two-year conflict.
The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions of people from their homes. Both sides have previously said they were willing to participate in talks brokered by the AU, but heavy fighting continues in Tigray, a northern region that borders Eritrea.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national security adviser, Redwan Hussein, said on Twitter that the Ethiopian government “confirmed this invitation in line with our principled position on the need for peaceful resolution of the dispute and talks without preconditions.” accepted,” he said.
In a statement, the Tigrayan army said it had accepted the invitation and asked for clarification on 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 challenging the AU’s proposal.
Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, was backed by former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African Vice President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, according to one of the AU invitations seen by Reuters. lead the negotiations.
There were no formal talks between the two countries during the five-month ceasefire from March to August. Fighting he resumed on 24 August.
Abiy’s government has accused the TPLF, which controlled Ethiopia’s ruling coalition until Abiy came to power in 2018, of trying to reassert control of the Tiglayan people over Ethiopia.
The TPLF accuses Abiy of over-centralizing power and oppressing the Tiglayans. Both dismiss each other’s accusations.