Tigrayan forces say ready to accept an AU-led peace process in Ethiopia

 Forces in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region that have been fighting the central government for nearly two years said on Sunday they are ready for a ceasefire and would accept an African Union-led peace process.

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“We are ready to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities,” the Tigrayan forces said in a statement.

Tigray has set up a negotiation team that is ready to be deployed “without delay”, the statement said. The Ethiopian federal government said in June that the African Union (AU) should facilitate peace talks. 

Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The government has previously said it is willing to enter talks without preconditions.

The United Nations is ready to support the AU-led peace process, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “calls on the parties to seize this opportunity for peace and to take steps to end the violence definitively and opt for dialogue”, Dujarric said.

Tigrayan forces have been at war with the Ethiopian federal government since November 2020. The Tigrayan forces have accused Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of centralizing power at the expense of Ethiopia’s regions, which Abiy has denied.

Abiy has accused the Tigrayan forces – led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which used to dominate national politics – of trying to reclaim power, which they have denied.

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