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Ethiopia, TPLF Accept AU Peace Talk Invitation

FILE - A local newspapers articles showing photos of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and leaders of the Tigray´s People Liberation Front (TPLF) in a downtown area of the city of Addis Ababa, November 3, 2021

Ethiopia's government and rival Tigrayan forces said on Wednesday they have accepted an invitation by the African Union to participate in peace talks aimed at ending a two-year conflict.

The talks, slated for this weekend in South Africa, will be the first formal negotiations between the two sides since the war broke out in November 2020, two diplomatic sources said.

Redwan Hussein, the national security adviser to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Wednesday said on Twitter, the Horn of Africa nation has accepted the AU’s invitation.

In a statement Tigrayan forces said they had accepted the invitation, and asked for clarification on who had been invited as participants, observers and guarantors.

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) officials last month said they were ready for a ceasefire and would accept an AU-led peace process, after raising objections to previous AU proposals.

According to the African Union, Olusegun Obasanjo, the regional body’s High Representative for the Horn of Africa will lead negotiations between the rivals and will be supported by former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African deputy President Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka.

Abiy's government accuses the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopia's ruling coalition until Abiy came to power in 2018, of trying to reassert Tigrayan dominance over Ethiopia.

The TPLF accuses Abiy of over-centralizing power and oppressing Tigrayans. Both dismiss each other's accusations.