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Uhuru skips Ethiopia- Tigray peace talks over conflicting schedule

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta says he will not be attending this weekend’s Ethiopia- Tigray peace talks due to his other arrangements.

Uhuru was expected to mediate in the peace talks together with Horn of Africa envoy Olusegun Obasanjo in South Africa.

However in a statement to African Union Chairman Mousa Faki, Uhuru said he will not be able to make it.

“Regrettably I wish to notify your good office that I will not be able to attend the AU convened peace talks scheduled for October 8, in South Africa owing to conflict in my schedule,” he said.

“I would be grateful to receive further clarity on the structure and modalities of the talks, including but not limited to the rules of engagement for the interlocutors invited.”

Ethiopia’s government had on Wednesday accepted an African Union invitation to hold peace talks with Tigrayan rebels after almost two years of brutal war in the north of the country.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national security adviser Redwan Hussein said on Twitter that the government had “accepted this invitation which is in line with our principled position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the need to have talks without preconditions”.

There was no immediate response from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to the announcement, which comes more than a month after intense fighting resumed in northern Ethiopia, shattering a March truce and dimming hopes of ending the war.

The deepening conflict has raised international alarm, with the United States this week announcing that its special envoy to the region, Mike Hammer, would be making his second visit to Ethiopia in as many months to seek a halt to the fighting.

The latest upsurge has also drawn Eritrean troops back on to the battlefield in support of Ethiopia’s federal and regional forces, which are fighting the TPLF on multiple fronts in the country’s north.

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