The Ethiopian government has previously declared that it is open to negotiations “anytime, anyplace” mediated by the African Union.
The Tigray rebels in Ethiopia claim they are ready for a ceasefire and would cooperate with an African Union-led peace process, removing a barrier to talks with the government to end the nearly two years of savage fighting.
The declaration was made amid a frenzy of diplomatic activity after violence broke out in northern Ethiopia in August for the first time in a while, derailing a humanitarian truce.
On September 11, Tigrayan authorities stated, “The government of Tigray is willing to join in a vigorous peace process under the auspices of the AU.”
Furthermore, “we are prepared to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed suspension of hostilities to foster a favorable environment.”
The Ethiopian government has previously declared that it is open to negotiations “anytime, anyplace” mediated by the AU, which has its headquarters in Addis Abeba.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) had, up until this point, aggressively protested Olusegun Obasanjo’s position as the AU’s Horn of Africa ambassador, citing his “proximity” to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
In a statement, the head of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, hailed the move as a “rare chance towards the restoration of peace” and urged “both parties to urgently strive towards an immediate ceasefire, engage in direct discussions.”
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the UN, urged “the parties to grab this chance for peace and to take actions to halt the bloodshed completely and opt for dialogue” in a statement.
He declared that the UN is prepared to assist the AU-led peace initiative.
The TPLF announcement was hailed as a “good development” on Twitter by Taye Dendera, Ethiopia’s state minister for peace. Still, he emphasized that the “TDF (Tigray Defense Forces) must be disarmed before peace talks commence. Clear stand!”
Preconditions were not included in the TPLF statement, which was released on the same day as Ethiopia’s new year. Still, it did indicate that Tigrayans expected a “credible” peace process with foreign observers and mediators who were “mutually acceptable.”
He also demanded in a letter to Guterres that the Eritrean military leave all of Ethiopia and leave the western Tigray region, which is claimed by both the Tigrayans and the Amharas, the second-largest ethnic group in the nation.
In a statement released on Sunday, it was stated that a negotiation team, including TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda and former Ethiopian army leader General Tsadkan Gebretensae, currently in charge of Tigray’s central military command, was “ready to be deployed without delay.”
The first admission of direct communication by either warring side came from Debretsion last month, who said that top military and civilian officials had held two rounds of private face-to-face discussions.
The former president of Nigeria, Obasanjo, and Mike Hammer, a visiting US ambassador for the Horn of Africa, spoke with the AU’s Faki on Saturday.
Hammer wished Ethiopians a happy new year in a message sent on Sunday. “May the parties to the dispute have the fortitude to choose dialogue over violence and take part in an African Union-led process that results in a sustainable peace.”
Fighting has broken out in northern Ethiopia on a number of fronts since hostilities resumed on August 24. Each side accuses the other of firing first and breaking a ceasefire agreement from March.
The TPLF claims that Ethiopian and Eritrean forces started an enormous coordinated onslaught against Tigray on September 1 after the most recent fighting broke out around Tigray’s southeast border and then moved to areas west and north of the initial hostilities.
The United Nations said on Thursday that the uptick in hostilities had caused a halt to both road and air supplies of much-needed relief to Tigray.
Since mid-December, assistance convoys had been unable to reach Mekele, the capital of Tigray, until the truce in March.
Millions of people in northern Ethiopia require emergency relief due to the untold civilian deaths that have occurred since the conflict broke out in the continent’s second-most populous nation.
In response to what he claimed were attacks by the TPLF on federal army camps, Abiy, a Nobel Peace laureate, dispatched troops into Tigray in November 2020 to overthrow the organization.
Before the war came to a standstill, the TPLF surprised everyone by taking back the majority of Tigray and expanding into Afar and Amhara.