Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has arrived in Ethiopia as countries work to end the war, with African Union (AU) envoy Olusegun Obasanjo announcing that talks could end the conflict but warned that “such talks would not happen” without stopping the war. . .
More than 12 months of fighting between government forces and Tigrayan forces have claimed many lives and displaced more than two million people, with hundreds of thousands more starving.
Obasanjo left Ethiopia on Thursday after meeting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), while US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman visited the country last week for talks.
On Sunday, Kenyatta, who was also involved in mediation work, arrived in Ethiopia on a surprise one-day trip, Abiy posted pictures of the two on Twitter.
I welcome my beloved brother President Uhuru Kenyatta to his second home. pic.twitter.com/bj6XCWDHXj
– Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) November 14, 2021
For his part, State House Kenya said on Twitter that Kenyatta held secret talks with Abiy and Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde.
Earlier this month, Kenyatta called on the warring factions in Ethiopia to lay down their weapons and find a way to bring peace.
“The war must stop!” he said in his remarks, criticizing the lack of “very disruptive” dialogue.
Kenya has increased security at its borders for fear that Ethiopians are fleeing the war as humanitarian crises spread around the world.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday, in Addis Ababa, held secret talks with the top leadership of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia🇪🇹 under the leadership of the President. @SahleWorkZewde and the Prime Minister @AbiyAhmedAli. pic.twitter.com/M124EY3VMO
– State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) November 14, 2021
Meanwhile, Obasanjo said in a statement on Sunday that he “hoped that the agreement reached to resolve the dispute could be protected.”
But as the war intensifies in recent weeks, the former President of Nigeria and a special envoy of the AU to the Horn of Africa have warned that “such talks cannot take place in areas where war is rampant”.
– African Union (@_AfricanUnion) November 14, 2021
“Therefore, I urge all parties to refrain from invading the military. This will provide an opportunity for the negotiations to continue.”
His comments came ahead of a visit to three African countries visited by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who backed Obasanjo’s attempts to intervene and threatened to impose sanctions on the Abiy government and the TPLF only if he stepped up negotiations.
Ethiopia Thursday was established conditions on possible negotiations with the TPLF, including stopping the insurgents and leaving the Amhara and Afar areas bordering the northern Tigray border.
“There are conditions: First, stop your attack. Second, leave the areas you have entered [Amhara and Afar]. Thirdly, be aware of the legitimacy of this government, “Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Dina Mufti told reporters on Thursday.
But TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda had previously said that leaving Amhara and Afar before the talks began “is baseless”. Tigrayan troops say earlier this month they captured Kemise, 325 kilometers (200 kilometers) from the capital Addis Ababa, and threatened to march.
The government, however, has criticized the TPLF for exaggerating the interests of its constituencies and insisting that the dispute “does not come to the capital”.
The TPLF is also seeking an end to what the United Nations calls a “blockade” in Tigray, where thousands of people believe they are living in starvation.
Abiy sent troops to Tigray last November to overthrow the TPLF, which he said was the result of terrorist attacks on military bases.
Although the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2019 promised a quick victory, by the end of June the TPLF had reclaimed a large Tigray before growing up in Amhara and Afar.