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News: AU Chairperson expresses hope Ethiopia peace talks will “lead to a ceasefire and opening a way to bring humanitarian support”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat in Ottawa, Canada. Picture: Moussa Faki Mahamat/Twitter

Addis Abeba – Chairperson of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed his hopes that the AU-led peace talks happening in South Africa between the representatives of the federal government and Tigrayan authorities “will lead to a ceasefire and opening a way to bring humanitarian support to those who are in need.”

The Chairperson made the remarks during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa, Canada, where both were visiting on 27 October. In addition to Ethiopia, the two also discussed the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, scheduled to take place on December 13-15, 2022 in Washington, DC.

“Two days ago, I launched the peace process between the Ethiopian parties in South Africa. We hope (inaudible) to congratulate United States of America to have (inaudible) to make this process succeed. And we have a – we (inaudible) hope that this will lead to a ceasefire and opening a way to bring humanitarian support to those who are in need,” according to the readout of the meeting.

Secretary Blinken said that his meeting with the Chairperson came “at an important time as the AU is playing a leadership role in trying to bring to an end the violence and conflict in northern Ethiopia” and added that he was looking to hearing from the Chairperson “about our combined efforts to do that.”

The ongoing AU-led peace talks started on Tuesday 25 October and is scheduled to end on Sunday 30 October, according to Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president.

The peace talks gathered significant momentum following the Chairperson’s call on 15 October for “an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and resumption of humanitarian services” in the Tigray region. Secretary Blinken echoed the Chairperson’s call this week with a statement highlighting the need for “immediate cessation of hostilities” as “a first priority.” He also called on “the delegations to agree on unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need, measures to protect civilians, and Eritrea’s withdrawal from northern Ethiopia.”

The talks are being facilitated by Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, along with former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Deputy President of South Africa Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

According to the AU, representatives of IGAD, UN and the US are participating in the talks as observers. AS

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