Diplomatic sources Friday said the African Union led peace talks that were scheduled for this weekend in South Africa, with the mandate of ending a two-year conflict between Ethiopian forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, have been delayed.
Sources add, the postponement is related to organizing logistics and a new date is yet to be scheduled.
Getachew Reda, the TPLF spokesperson 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," said Reda.
Ethiopian officials Wednesday confirmed accepting the AU’s invitation to talks in South Africa.
TPLF officials followed suit on Wednesday, however in their acceptance letter, called for clarification regarding the participants, observers, and guarantors in the peace talks.
Activists in Ethiopia’s Amhara region which shares a border with the Tigray, but have sided with federal forces in the conflict, say they oppose the talks.
“The current AU-led peace talks process excludes Amharas – the largest affected group in the war,” read a statement released by the Amhara Association of America.
Diplomatic sources also say the government of neighboring Eritrea, who has fought alongside Ethiopia’s federal forces against the TPLF, were among those who did not receive an invite to the talks.
Yemane Gebremeskel, Eritrea’s Minister of Information, could not be reached for a comment.
William Davison, a political expert, says several issues need to be resolved between the rival forces before attempts to have peace talks.
“There are a number of issues that need to be resolved before talks occur," said Davison, adding, "mediators will then face a major challenge which is to get the two parties to commit to a truce.”