MADRID, 21 (EUROPA PRESS)
The Ethiopian government has rejected this Saturday that the African Union is going to act, for the time being, as a mediator in the open conflict in the Tigray region, in the north of the country, although it has confirmed that the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, will meet “one by one” with the three envoys of the international organization.
This statement comes just hours after the African Union announced on Friday night the appointment of former presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa as representatives to resolve the very serious open conflict in the region between the Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
“The news that these envoys are going to mediate between the Federal Government and the criminal elements of the front are false. The position of the Federal Government in relation to this matter has not changed,” according to a statement from the State of Emergency verification office of the Ethiopian Government on Facebook, collected by the ‘Addis Standard’.
Other diplomatic attempts have been unsuccessful. US Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor said Thursday that he had contacted Abiy and TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael over the past week and saw “a firm commitment to the continuation of the military conflict.” “Neither party feels they can articulate a basis for a negotiated or mediated solution,” he said.
The US Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, stated during the same ceremony with Raynor that “there is no equivalence” between the central government and Tigray. “They are not two sovereign states fighting each other,” he said.
“This is a faction of the Government that manages a region in Ethiopia that has decided to initiate hostilities against the central Government and has not achieved, from my point of view, the effect that it thought it would obtain,” he added, according to the transcript provided by the State Department.
Hostilities broke out on November 4 after months of tension between the government and the Front, which Abiy has declared as a renegade administration of the region, in response to an attack by the group against a major Army base.
More than 100,000 people have been displaced and the United Nations fears that more than a million may need urgent humanitarian aid.
Regarding the current battle front, the Ethiopian authorities have assured in the last hours that they have taken the towns of Axum and Adwa, in new advances towards the regional capital, Mekelle.
Likewise, the Government has indicated through a statement that government forces already control “adjacent areas” to the city of Adigrat, 116 kilometers north of the capital, whose fall appears to be imminent.