The leader of Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region and the federal government have been invited to peace talks in South Africa this weekend as part of a pan-African effort to end one of the world’s most overlooked wars, according to a letter seen Wednesday by The Associated Press.

If Debretsion Gebremichael attends the proposed talks between the Tigray and Ethiopian sides, it will be the highest-level effort yet to end the two-year war that has killed thousands of people from conflict and starvation.

Ethiopia’s government has accepted the invitation, national security adviser Redwan Hussein said. In a separate statement, the government called it “consistent with the Ethiopian government’s prior positions” that talks be mediated by the AU and be held without preconditions. The statement, however, does not give details about who might attend.

A diplomat in Addis Ababa said the African Union was still waiting for a response from the Tigray side. The spokesman for the Tigray forces, Getachew Reda, could not immediately be reached. Another member of the Tigray negotiation team, Tsadkan Gebretensae, told a U.S. think tank last week that “we have agreed on an African-led process, but that should not be carte blanche for the AU to impose what should be a peace process.”


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