AU appoints envoys to mediate Ethiopian conflict, Ethiopia rejects mediation
The African Union on Friday appointed three high-level envoys to mediate the on-going conflict in the Ethiopian Tigray region.
AU chairperson and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement named former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and former President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe as special envoys of the AU to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the Ethiopian conflict.
Fighting broke out between the Ethiopian central government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party that controls the northern Tigray region after the government accused TPLF of holding an illegal election and attacking a military base to steal weapons, a claim the TPLF denied. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed then ordered a military offensive against the Tigray forces accusing them of treason.
However, according to media reports, Ethiopia rejected the African Union's offer for mediation saying mediation reports were fake news.
“PM Abiy Ahmed will be meeting the Chairperson’s special envoys to speak with them one on one. News circulating that the envoys will be traveling to Ethiopia to mediate between the Federal Government and TPLF’s criminal element is fake,” said a statement posted on the Prime Minister’s official Twitter page on Saturday.
The Ethiopian army and local forces in Tigray have been battling since the conflict broke out on November 4, killing hundreds of people and displacing thousands into neighboring Sudan.