(Bloomberg) — Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he will meet with the three envoys appointed by the African Union, dismissing a move by the regional body to mediate a conflict between the federal government and the northern region of Tigray.
The African Union named three former heads of state as envoys late Friday. The premier’s office said Saturday that news of the envoys traveling to his country to mediate between his government and the northern region is “fake.”
Hostilities erupted Nov. 4 after months of tension between the federal and regional governments. Tigrayan authorities say 100,000 people have been displaced, and the United Nations has warned that an additional 1.1 million people may need aid.
“The primary task of the special envoys is to engage all sides to the conflict with a view to ending hostilities, creating conditions for an inclusive national dialogue to resolve all issues that led to the conflict, and restoring peace and stability to Ethiopia,” the African Union Chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said after a meeting with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde.
Chair of the @_AfricanUnion HE President @CyrilRamaphosa today received HE President Sahle-Work Zewde of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, who paid a visit to South Africa in her capacity as Special Envoy of HE Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia.
— AUChair2020 (@AUChair2020) November 20, 2020
The envoys are Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique; Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former president of Liberia; and Kgalema Motlanthe, former president of South Africa, who will travel to Ethiopia in “coming days.”
Ramaphosa said the process is aimed at creating a “dialogue and an end to fighting that has cost many lives and extensive displacement of people.”