The African Union has announced that the United States, the United Nations, and the Intergovernmental Authority (IGAD) are participating as observers in the ongoing peace talks between the federal government and Tigrayan forces in Pretoria, South Africa.
The African Union Commission said in a statement that representatives of the United States and the two organizations are participating as observers in the first formal peace talks aimed at ending two years of war between the two sides. US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer is reportedly representing the US side.
The AU said its chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, was “encouraged by the early demonstration of commitment to peace by the parties”, without elaborating.
The South African president’s spokesperson had announced that the long-awaited peace talks between the warring sides opened Tuesday, October 25 and it would run until October 30.
South Africa “hopes the talks will proceed constructively and result in a successful outcome that leads to lasting peace for all the people of our dear sister country Ethiopia,” said Vincent Magwenya, spokesperson for President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The talks are being led by AU Horn of Africa envoy and Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo, along with Kenya’s former leader Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa’s ex-vice president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said Magwenya.
The two forces are sitting around the table to resolve their differences as the government has been making significant gains on the battlefield, capturing several large towns in Tigray in the past few days.
Though no details of the peace negotiations have been released yet, one of the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, Kindeya Gebrehiwot wrote in a Twitter post that among the issues that would be raised are the immediate cessation of hostilities, unfettered humanitarian access and withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Tigray.