UN Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the African Union’s (AU) appointment of three high-level envoys to help resolve the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, calling it an “initiative for peace.”
The African Union Chairman, Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday named a team of former African presidents to head to Ethiopia, on behalf of the Continent’s leadership, to initiate peaceful resolution of conflict which has escalated for the last two weeks.
Ramaphosa, who is also South African president, picked the experienced negotiator, Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique to head the team. He is to work hand in hand with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former Liberian President, and Kgalema Motlanthe, former President of South Africa.
Welcoming the decision, the Secretary-General underlined the UN’s support for efforts towards ensuring a peaceful, stable and prosperous Ethiopia, according to a statement issued later that day by his Spokesperson.
“He commends the Chairperson of the African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, for this initiative and extends the full support of the United Nations. He also expresses his appreciation to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia for facilitating this initiative for peace,” the statement read.
The new development is explicitly opposed to Ethiopian government’s insistence on the use of military force to subdue the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, who have taken control of Tigray region.
The government of Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the Noble Peace Price winner 2019, is getting under international pressure to enter negotiations with the TPLF.
More than 30,000 people have fled Tigray region, located in northern Ethiopia, for Sudan in the past two weeks to escape fighting between national and regional forces.
The UN estimates that up to 200,000 could arrive in the coming months.