Former president, Uhuru Kenyatta, was handed a major boost in his international duty as a special peace envoy after the warring groups in Ethiopia agreed to mediation.
Through a statement dated Thursday, October 6, African Union noted that the disputing groups, the Ethiopian government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), had agreed to engage Uhuru and other leaders assigned to lead the peace talks.
AU chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, noted that TPLF, which was hesitant to engage in the talks, had finally honoured the call for mediation.
"The Chairperson of the African Union Commission welcomes the avowed commitment of the two parties in the Ethiopian conflict, to the restoration of peace and stability in Ethiopia, following the invitation to the AU-led peace talks due to start soon in South Africa," he stated.
Faki expressed confidence that the team that Uhuru was part of had vast experience and leadership capacity to ensure constructive engagements and dialogue between the parties towards a sustainable, inclusive, negotiated settlement to the conflict in Northern Ethiopia.
"The Chairperson reiterates the call upon the parties to give peace a chance in the supreme interest of all Ethiopian people and for the broader Horn of Africa region," Faki insisted.
Uhuru is set to engage the two warring groups together with other imminent leaders. The team will be led by Olusegun Obasanjo, AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa and former President of Nigeria. Former South Africa's Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will also be part of the panel.
The team is expected to fly to South Africa on Sunday, October 9, for the first rounds of discussions set to end the war, which broke out in November 2020, affecting over 5 million people and leaving thousands displaced.
Uhuru's role as a Special Envoy to Ethiopia was confirmed by President William Ruto during his inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, September 13.
Ruto noted that Uhuru was the right candidate to lead the talks due to his requisite experience. He also observed that Uhuru had established a rapport with the leaders both in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
"On the peace initiatives in our region including both in Ethiopia and Great Lakes Region, I have asked my elder brother President Uhuru Kenyatta who has done commendable engagement with those regions and he has graciously agreed to continue chairing those discussions on behalf of the people of Kenya,” Ruto stated.
"I have committed that the government of Kenya and myself, in particular, will support those initiatives that will be chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta. And I want to thank you for graciously agreeing to support us and to help me in those interventions," he added.