The African Union’s Peace and Security Council is meeting Friday to discuss the escalating war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
The conflict-resolution body is to receive a briefing from AU special envoy Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been leading efforts to mediate talks between the Tigray rebels and Ethiopia’s federal government.
The United Nations Security Council was also set Friday to discuss the conflict in Ethiopia at a private meeting requested by Gabon, Ghana and Kenya this week.
Both meetings are being held a day after Ethiopia announced it will send representatives to AU-sponsored peace talks on October 24. Leaders of the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front have not confirmed their attendance at the talks, to take place in South Africa.
AU-mediated peace talks were slated to begin earlier this month but were postponed for logistical reasons.
In recent days diplomats have stepped up their calls for a cease-fire in Tigray.
Ethiopia said last week it plans to seize Tigray’s airports and other strategic facilities. On Monday it announced the capture of three towns in Tigray.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday that the U.N. and AU meetings “demonstrate the international community’s great concern about the situation.”
He also renewed the U.S. call for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray, where they are supporting the Ethiopian government’s offensive.
The AU’s Peace and Security Council last discussed Ethiopia August 4, roughly three weeks before a five-month ceasefire in Tigray ended.
Since then, “the situation in the conflict has dramatically changed for the worse,” said the Amani Africa think tank in a briefing note Friday.
Source: Voice of America