The Ethiopian government on Thursday said it is ready to hold peace talks with Tigray leaders at any date and venue for negotiations, reported The Sudan Tribune.
Ambassador Redwan Hussein, the Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser, said the federal government was ready to talk anytime, anywhere, and that talks should begin without preconditions.
Hussein made the announcement during a briefing to Horn of Africa Special Envoys of the United Nations, the European Union and the United States as well as to Ambassadors of the U.S., France, Germany, Italy and the UK to Ethiopia.
During the briefing, Hussein was also accompanied by Ethiopian Justice Minister, Gideon Timothy and five other government officials. The two senior officials are members of a seven-member peace committee appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to negotiate with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Hussein said that the peace process will go ahead under the leadership of the Africa Union, which can solicit logistical support from other mediators in facilitating the talks.
The peace talks between the federal government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) were initially expected to start by June end. But, disagreements over who leads the mediation process, and the venue for talks are major factors that delayed the launch of the negotiation process.
The Ethiopian government insists that the AU leads the mediation, but, the TPLF is not ready for it as it doubts the bloc’s neutrality and indicated their preference for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta adding he should lead the mediation and include the U.S., EU and the UN alongside the African Union (AU).
Since its eruption in November 2020, the conflict between the government forces and the troops loyal to the TPLF has claimed the lives of thousands of people and resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis, subjecting to 90 per cent of Tigrayans to famine-like conditions.