Warring sides in the two-year-old conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray opened peace talks in Pretoria on Tuesday, the South African presidency announced.
“South Africa is hosting peace talks to end the conflict in the Tigray region,” Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa, told reporters.
The talks “have been convened to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to the devastating conflict,” he said.
They “started today, the 25th of October, and will end on the 30th of October.”
The negotiations, led by the African Union (AU), follow a surge in fighting that has alarmed the international community and triggered fears for civilians caught in the crossfire.
Magwenya said Ramaphosa had “readily agreed” to the AU’s request for South Africa to host the parley.
“Such talks are in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objectives of a secure and conflict-free continent,” he said.
The talks are being facilitated by Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo, supported by Kenya’s former leader Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa’s ex-Vice President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, he said.
South Africa hopes “the talks will proceed constructively and result in a successful outcome that leads to peace for all the people of our dear sister country,” he said.
Diplomatic pressure has been mounting to bring a halt to the war, which has left millions in need of humanitarian aid and, according to a US estimate, as many as half a million dead.