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AU Should Mediate Addis - Tigray Talks

FILE: Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed responds to questions at the Parliament in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 1, 2019.

The African Union should facilitate peace talks between Ethiopia's government and rebellious forces from the Tigray region in the north, the country's ruling party told state media on Monday.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said two weeks ago that the federal government had formed a committee to study how they will negotiate with the Tigrayan forces.

After discussing the committee's report, Abiy's ruling Prosperity Party wants the African Union to oversee a peaceful resolution of the conflict, Gedion Timothewos, the justice minister, told the state news agency.

He did not provide more details on the report from the committee, which is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen.

It had been given 10-15 days to hammer out details of negotiations and government officials told Reuters last week that its report would be made public.

The government, however, stood ready to take action if violence continued, Gideon was quoted as saying by the Ethiopian Press Agency.

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), a former rebel army turned political party, said it was prepared to participate in a "credible, impartial and principled" peace process, after Abiy announced the formation of the committee.

TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling Prosperity Party's position.

The conflict in Ethiopia, Africa's second-most populous nation, has displaced millions of people, plunged parts of Tigray into famine conditions and killed thousands of civilians, since it erupted in November 2020.