Nairobi – Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels said on Sunday they were ready to take part in peace talks led by the African Union, removing an obstacle to potential negotiations with the government to end almost two years of brutal warfare.
The announcement came amid a flurry of international diplomacy after fighting flared last month for the first time in months, torpedoing a humanitarian truce in northern Ethiopia.
“The government of Tigray is prepared to participate in a robust peace process under the auspices of the African Union,” said a statement by the authorities in the northernmost region of Tigray.
“Furthermore we are ready to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities in order to create a conducive atmosphere.”
The Ethiopian government has long insisted that any peace process must be brokered by the AU, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.
But the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) had until now vehemently opposed the role of the AU’s Horn of Africa envoy Olusegun Obasanjo, protesting at his “proximity” to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.