Kenya's former President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, October 25, official began his role of overseeing Ethiopia - Tigray peace talks.
A statement by the African Union confirmed that the talks officially kicked off in South Africa two weeks after the initial plans to hold them aborted on October 7.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat noted that the talks would be overseen by Uhuru alongside AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo as well as former Deputy President Dr Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka of the Republic of South Africa.
"The Chairperson is further encouraged by the early demonstration of commitment to peace by the Parties and to seek a lasting political solution to the conflict in the supreme interest of Ethiopia.
"The Chairperson reiterates the AU's continued commitment to support the parties in an Ethiopian-owned and AU-led process to silence the guns towards a united, stable, peaceful and resilient Ethiopia," read the statement in part.
On October 7, AU postponed the talks upon Uhuru's request owing to his conflicting schedules.
At the time, Uhuru, who serves as Kenya's special envoy to Ethiopia, also urged the organizers to clarify the protocols to be followed in the mediation process.
"Regrettably, I wish to notify you that I will not be able to attend the AU-Convened Peace Talks in South Africa owing to conflicts in my schedule.
“However, in the interim, and as you consider the possibility for another date for the peace talks, 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 all the interlocutors invited,” the statement read in part.
In his letter at the time, the former Head of State had also asked the organisers of the talks to consider rescheduling the peace talks.
He also wanted further clarity on the structure and modalities of the talks, including but not limited to the rules of engagement for all the interlocutors invited.
The clarification, he stated, would prepare him for his engagement and participation.
The talks are aimed at ending the ongoing war in Ethiopia with the two warring parties, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), having agreed to the peace talks.
The war, which kicked off in November 2020, has also affected roughly 5 million people who have been left without basic needs including electricity and banking services.