Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has departed for Ethiopia in efforts to start negotiations between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Ex-President Obasanjo is “on his way to Addis Ababa for talks”, his spokesman Kehinde Akinyemi said in a statement, adding that “he is going there for mediation”.
He, however, did not provide further details.
Ethiopia’s government has ruled out talks with the TPLF insisting that the party, which is in power in Tigray, has resisted a peaceful resolution of the differences with the federal government over the past two years.
“Any mediation effort will incentivise impunity and unruliness,” Ethiopia’s state minister of foreign affairs Redwan Hussein told journalists in Addis Ababa.
“Any country would not sit down with part of the country that boldly claims to have rockets and missiles and vows to attack.”
Ethiopia’s central government announced a military operation in the northern Tigray region on November 4 in a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud with the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The fighting — which has sent thousands fleeing over the border into Sudan — has sparked fears of civil war and concerns it could spread across the region after rockets were fired at an airport in neighbouring Eritrea.