Ethiopia-Tigray peace talks in South Africa called off

Uhuru Kenyatta Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed at a past event. 

Photo credit: File

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta will not be attending the Ethiopia-Tigray peace talks set to take place on Saturday, October 8 in South Africa, citing a scheduling conflict.

Diplomatic sources at the same time told The Associated Press on Friday that the talks have been postponed and will not take place as planned this weekend because of logistics and other issues.

Mr Kenyatta, who is President William Ruto’s Peace Envoy to the Horn and Great Lakes region, had been invited by the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat as part of a “troika of negotiators” to help the warring parties establish terms of their dialogue. The talks are scheduled for Sunday in South Africa.

But President Kenyatta on Friday wrote to the AU saying the dates are inconvenient, even though he did seek clarity on how the talks will be arranged in future.

“However, in the interim, and as you consider the possibility for another date for the peace talks, I would be grateful to receive further clarity on the structure and modalities of the talks, including but not limited to the rules of engagement for all the interlocutors invited,” Kenyatta said in a diplomatic note seen by The EastAfrican.

“This clarification would greatly help in preparations for my engagement and participation.”

Ethiopia on Wednesday said it had accepted an invitation to attend peace talks led by the African Union Special Representative for the Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo, in South Africa.

Redwan Hussein, the National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said, “The GoE (Government of Ethiopia) has accepted this invitation which is in line with our principled position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the need to have talks without preconditions.”