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African Union chair calls for truce and talks in Ethiopia

The chair of the African Union on Sunday called for an immediate ceasefire in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and urged parties in the two-year-old conflict there to agree to direct peace talks.

Moussa Faki said he was following reports of escalating violence in Tigray with grave concern.

“The chairperson strongly calls for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian services,” the AU said in a statement.

AU-led peace talks proposed for earlier this month were delayed for logistical reasons.

Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray forces, called the AU statement “welcomed if overdue” in light of the extremely alarming humanitarian crisis unfolding as a result of the campaign by the Eritrean army and its Ethiopian allies.

Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu, military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane, Redwan Hussein, national security advisor to the prime minister Abiy Ahmed, and Abiy’s spokesperson Billene Seyoum did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Ethiopian government and its allies, which include Eritrea’s army, have been fighting Tigray forces on and off since late 2020. The violence has killed thousands of civilians and uprooted millions.

Both sides have blamed each other for starting the conflict.

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