Ethiopia PM tentative about civil war peace talks

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said his government will announce details of peace talks with forces from the country’s northernmost region, Tigray, to end a civil war “when the time comes” and “when they begin”.

Addressing parliament on Tuesday, Mr Abiy said his administration wants peace including with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – the group at war with the government since November 2020 – but suggested talks are yet to begin.

“We didn’t hide the war; why would we hide peace [initiatives]?” the prime minister told lawmakers. A committee to study possibilities of – and prerequisites for – peace talks is expected to present its findings to the government in the coming days or weeks, Mr Abiy said.

The African Union chief mediator Olusegun Obasanjo has made frequent trips to Addis Ababa and the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, in recent months.

A humanitarian ceasefire agreed between the warring parties in March has been followed by an increase in the flow of aid to Tigray.

However, there has not been an official cessation of hostilities or peace talks to see an end to the fighting.

Tigrayan forces have been demanding the resumption of basic services including banking, telecom and electricity.

The government has “many reasons to want to talk”, Mr Abiy said adding “peace will benefit the people of Tigray more than anyone”.

He has denied previous reports that he met representatives from the TPLF during a recent trip to Nigeria. But he hasn’t specifically addressed reports by the French newspaper Le Monde that behind the scene negotiations are planned in Tanzania.

His remarks were consistent with a shift of tone in recent times.

Nonetheless he still accused Tigrayan forces of instigating violent clashes in the country in the past few years.

source: bbc

Ray Charles Marfo

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