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Peace talks on conflict in Ethiopia set to start

By OTIATO OPALI in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2022-10-26 11:00

Tigray rebels and the Ethiopian government announced on Monday their arrival in South Africa for peace talks aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the country's brutal two-year war.

The arrival of the delegation from Tigray in South Africa was confirmed by Kindeya Gebrehiwot, member of the Tigray People's Liberation Front Central Committee.

"The delegation of the government of Tigray to attend the African Union-led peace talks on Ethiopia and Tigray has just arrived in South Africa. Pressing: immediate cessation of hostilities, unfettered humanitarian access and withdrawal of Eritrean forces. There cannot be a military solution," Gebrehiwot said on Twitter.

Ethiopia's federal government also confirmed in a news release on Monday that it will be participating in the AU-convened peace talks to be held in South Africa.

"The Government of Ethiopia views the talks as an opportunity to peacefully resolve the conflict and consolidate the improvement of the situation on the ground brought about through the sacrifices of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces," the statement said.

The planned peace talks are the second attempt by the AU and are taking place amid growing global calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigrayan forces.

Call for cease-fire

After discussing the conflict in Ethiopia on Friday, the AU Peace and Security Council released a statement calling for an immediate, comprehensive and unconditional cease-fire and the resumption of humanitarian services in the affected region.

"The Council expressed deep concern over the resumption of hostilities in northern Ethiopia with the attendant loss of lives and urged all armed actors to uphold International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law and ensure the protection of civilians, especially women and children, while reiterating the strategic imperative of a political solution to the conflict," the AU Peace and Security Council said.

"We welcome the initiation of the AU-led peace talks on Ethiopia scheduled to take place in South Africa, with the expectation of a fruitful outcome."

The conflict in Ethiopia began two years ago when Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia's prime minister, sent troops into the Tigray semi-autonomous region accusing TPLF, the region's ruling party, of attacking army camps. The TPLF dominated Ethiopia's ruling political alliance for decades before Ahmed took power in 2018.

The United Nations said the conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine. It has also further destabilized the perennially volatile Horn of Africa region.

While addressing the media on Oct 17, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said fighting in the Tigray region is spiraling out of control, and there is no military solution to end the fierce conflict.

"The United Nations is ready to support the African Union in every possible way to end this nightmare for the Ethiopian people," Guterres said.

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