African Union to Send Motlanthe to Mediate Ethiopian Conflict


The African Union has appointed three former heads of state as envoys to mediate a conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and the northern region of Tigray.

However the Ethiopian government had earlier rejected calls for mediation in what it called an internal matter. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed now has accepted the initiative, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chairs the African Union, said in a statement on Twitter.

The special envoys are expected to engage all sides to the conflict with a view to ending hostilities, creating conditions for an inclusive national dialogue to resolve all issues that led to the conflict, and restoring peace and stability to Ethiopia.

Hostilities erupted on Nov. 4 after months of tension between the federal and regional governments. Tigrayan authorities say 100,000 people have been displaced, and the United Nations has warned that an additional 1.1 million people may need aid.

The envoys are Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique; Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former president of Liberia; and Kgalema Motlanthe, former president of South Africa, who will travel to Ethiopia in “coming days.”

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