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South Africa says Ethiopia peace talks have started on Tigray

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Peace talks to end Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict have begun in South Africa, a South African government spokesman said on Tuesday. This is the highest level effort to end two years of fighting that may have killed hundreds of thousands of people.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya said the African Union-led talks that started on Tuesday are expected to continue until Sunday. Delegations from the Ethiopian government and Tigray authorities arrived in South Africa this week.

“These talks are in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objectives of a secure and conflict-free continent,” Magwenya said. Former Nigerian President and AU envoy Olesegun Obasanjo, former South African Vice President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta are facilitating the talks with US encouragement.

The conflict has drastically changed the fortunes of Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who went to war with the northern Tigray region less than a year after receiving the award for making peace with neighboring Eritrea.

Peace talks begin as Ethiopian and Eritrean-allied forces have taken control of some urban areas in Tigray in recent days.

The Tigray region, which has more than 5 million inhabitants, is again cut off from the world by the resumption of fighting which began at the end of August after months of lull in the conflict.

All of the fighters committed abuses, according to United Nations human rights investigators who recently singled out the Ethiopian government for using “civilian starvation” as a weapon of war. According to an as yet unpublished study shared by its authors with The Associated Press this month, babies in Tigray are dying in their first month of life at four times the rate before war cut off access to most services. medical care.

The war that broke out in November 2020 has spread to neighboring Amhara and Afar regions of Ethiopia, putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk.

Academics and health workers have estimated that hundreds of thousands have been killed by conflict and deprivation, and the United States has begun warning of half a million casualties.

washingtonpost Gt

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