There was no immediate response from the Tigray rebels, although the group last month had said they were ready to participate in AU-mediated peace talks.

The Ethiopia conflict has raised international alarm, with the US announcing that its special envoy to the region would be making his second visit to Ethiopia.
The Ethiopia conflict has raised international alarm, with the US announcing that its special envoy to the region would be making his second visit to Ethiopia. (AP Archive)

Ethiopia's government has accepted an African Union invitation to hold peace talks with Tigrayan rebels over a month after intense fighting erupted in the country's north, shattering a March truce.

The government "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," Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's national security adviser Redwan Hussein tweeted on Wednesday.

The Government Communication Service said in a statement that the AU had set "both the date and the venue" for the talks but did not elaborate.

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, dimming hopes of ending the nearly two-year war.

READ MORE: Fighting breaks out between forces, rebels along Ethiopia-Eritrea border

Escalated fighting

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 onto the battlefield in support of Ethiopia's federal and regional forces, which are fighting the TPLF on multiple fronts in the country's north.

Tigrayan authorities said last month they were ready to participate in talks mediated by the African Union, removing an obstacle to negotiations with the government in Addis Ababa.

But fighting has only escalated in the weeks since.

The war, which erupted in November 2020, has claimed untold lives and triggered a massive humanitarian crisis, and all sides to the conflict have been accused of grave abuses against civilians.

READ MORE: US rushing envoy to Ethiopia, slams Eritrea's return to Tigray conflict

Source: AFP