AU Appoints 3 Envoys to Help Resolve Ethiopian Conflict

The African Union has named three high-level envoys to mediate a peaceful resolution of armed conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.  
 
AU President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa informed Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde on Friday that he had appointed 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 entrusted to facilitate negotiations between parties to end the conflict in Ethiopia.  
 
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement late Friday, welcoming the appointments and commended Ramaphosa “for this initiative” and extended the U.N.’s full support “for ensuring a peaceful, stable and prosperous Ethiopia.”
 
Guterres also expressed his appreciation to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “for facilitating this initiative for peace.”
 
Almost immediately, though, Ethiopia denied that the envoys would mediate between the government and the northern Tigray region, labeling the reports of mediation as “fake news.”
 
The Ethiopian army has been battling local forces in Tigray since the conflict broke out on November 4.  
 
Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands have fled to Sudan since then, when Abiy sent the national defense force into Tigray, after accusing local forces of attacking a military base there.
 

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