The U.S. State Department on Monday said Washington believes there is a small window of an opening to work with the African Union to make progress on peacefully resolving the conflict in Ethiopia as a special envoy returned to Addis Ababa.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, will meet with the African Union’s envoy for the region, former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, on Monday night.
“We believe there is a small window of opening to work with the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa … to further joint efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict in Ethiopia,” Price told reporters.
Washington has repeatedly called for an end to hostilities in the year-long conflict in northern Ethiopia between the government and Tigrayan forces, which has intensified in recent weeks.
The Tigrayan forces and their allies are threatening to march on the capital. The government declared a six-month state of emergency last week.
War broke out in November 2020 between federal troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party of Tigray. Since then, thousands have been killed and more than 2 million have fled their homes.
Feltman traveled to Ethiopia last week, where he met with Ethiopian and regional officials. He returned to Ethiopia on Monday from Kenya, Price said.
“We are engaging with the parties to try and put them on a path to a cessation of hostilities, which is our priority now and going forward,” Price said.
Reporting by Simon Lewis and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool