The event marked the first official meeting between the Ethiopian army and Tigray forces since the war broke out in November 2020.
Delegates from the Ethiopian government and rival Tigray have begun peace talks in Pretoria, South Africa, marking the first formal meeting between the warring sides in nearly two years, the South African government said. bloody conflict.
“Peace talks, which have been convened to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to the devastating conflict in the Tigray region, begin today, October 25 and will end on October 30. October,” Vincent Magwenya, a spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa told reporters on Tuesday.
Mr Magwenya said South Africa was ready to play host and support for the peace talks, adding that the country hoped the talks would lead to lasting peace for the Ethiopian people.
The talks are being mediated by an African Union team, led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, supported by former Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African vice president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
The conflict began in November 2020 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray after accusing the region’s ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of attacking federal army camps. Since then, the conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions, and left hundreds of thousands of people behind. on the brink of famine.
The talks, which were delayed earlier this month for logistical reasons, have been encouraged by the United States. In a statement on Friday, Washington said it was committed to continuing to engage in efforts to promote peace in the war-torn Tigray region, adding it was “deeply concerned” about the reports of bombings and indiscriminate killings.
The start of the talks follows an intensifying skirmish since a humanitarian truce broke down in August. Last week, the Ethiopian army took control of three towns – Shire, Alamata and Korem – from the Tigray rebels, raising fears that the advancing soldiers would mistreat civilians.
A joint investigation last year by the United Nations and the Ethiopian state-appointed human rights commission found that all warring parties in the Tigray war committed violations that could constitute war crimes. Last week, the Ethiopian government said its forces respect human rights.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk last week warned that air strikes in turbulent areas risked exacerbating the “devastating impact” of hostilities on civilians, a day later when the head of the United Nations Antonio Guterres said that the war was “spiral out of control“.