Peace talks on the war in Ethiopia will start on Monday in South Africa, the African Union said Friday, following earlier commitments by the government and Tigray forces to participate.
The Ethiopian government and its allies, which include Eritrea’s military, have been fighting Tigray forces in the north of the country on and off since late 2020. The conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine. Both sides had committed to talks earlier this month, but they were delayed for logistical reasons.
The African Union’s Peace and Security Council said Friday it welcomed “mutual commitments to genuinely participate in the peace process.”
Redwan Hussein, national security adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has said the government will participate in the AU-led talks from October 24.
Kindeya Gebrehiwot, a spokesman for the Tigray forces, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The peace talks are set to start just days after the Ethiopian army and its allies seized three large towns in Tigray, one to the northwest and two to the south of the regional capital Mekelle.
Tigrai TV, a media outlet controlled by the Tigray authorities, said Friday the Tigray forces had released more than 9,000 Eritrean and Ethiopian prisoners of war, including 500 women.
The station reported that the prisoners of war were released because the enemy is the Ethiopian government, not the frontline soldiers who they said were forced to fight.
Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the details of the prisoner release.
Source: Voice of America