Posted November 16, 2020 5:28 pm by

African leaders mount effort to mediate Ethiopia conflict

Thousands of Ethiopians have fled to neighbouring Sudan © AFP/File / Ebrahim HAMID

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Nov 16 – African leaders attempted Monday to kickstart some kind of mediation in Ethiopia’s escalating internal conflict, two days after rocket strikes on Eritrea’s capital highlighted risks that fighting could spread.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni held talks with Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister Demeke Mekonnen, while former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo headed to Addis Ababa to make his bid for dialogue.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced November 4 he had ordered military operations in Tigray in a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud with the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Hundreds of people are reported to have been killed so far in the conflict in Africa’s second most populous country, some in a gruesome massacre documented last week by Amnesty International.

More than 25,000 Ethiopians have fled into Sudan, Sudanese officials say.

“A war in Ethiopia would give the entire continent a bad image,” Museveni wrote on Twitter after meeting Demeke in the northern town of Gulu.

“There should be negotiations and the conflict stopped, lest it leads to unnecessary loss of lives and cripples the economy.”

Meanwhile Nigeria’s ex-president Obasanjo on Monday left for Addis Ababa to mediate in the crisis, his spokesman said.

African leaders mount effort to mediate Ethiopia conflict

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo previously acted as a United Nations peace envoy for the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo © AFP/File / WALTER ASTRADA

“Yes he is on his way to Addis Ababa for talks,” Kehinde Akinyemi told AFP on the visit of the former Nigerian leader to the Ethiopian capital.

“He is going there for mediation,” he said, without giving further details.

Both Abiy’s office and the African Union said Monday they did not have information about Obasanjo’s visit.

Abiy’s office also denied any talks were taking place in Uganda.

“The claims by various news outlets that Ethiopian officials are expected to take part in mediation talks with TPLF in Uganda is inaccurate and not substantiated,” a government statement said.

TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael told AFP Monday he was “not aware” of Museveni’s initiative.

– Restoring order –

Abiy’s government has said the TPLF needs to be disarmed before negotiations can begin, as world leaders have called for an immediate end to hostilities.

On Monday the House of Federation, the upper house of parliament, said in a statement that calls for talks were misguided Read More…African leaders mount effort to mediate Ethiopia conflict  African leaders mount effort to mediate Ethiopia conflict  African leaders mount effort to mediate Ethiopia conflict  African leaders mount effort to mediate Ethiopia conflict