The African Union-led peace talks proposed for this weekend to try to end a two-year conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region have been delayed for logistical reasons, two diplomatic sources told Reuters news agency on Friday.
Ethiopia’s government and rival Tigray regional forces said on Wednesday that they accepted the AU’s invitation to talks in South Africa, which would be the first formal negotiations between the two sides since war broke out in November 2020.
The conflict in Africa’s second most populous nation has killed thousands of civilians and uprooted millions.
The diplomatic sources, who asked not to be named, said the postponement was related to organising logistics and that a new date had not yet been scheduled.
Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that leads the regional government, said the AU did not consult Tigrayan leaders before sending out the invitations.
“You don’t just expect people to show up on a certain date as if this was some kind of get-together,” he said in a text message.
Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu and Ebba Kalondo, an AU spokesperson, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The negotiations will be led by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU’s high representative for the Horn of Africa, supported by former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, according to one of the AU’s invitation letters seen by Reuters.