Ethiopia civil war: Warring sides begin peace talks - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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Ethiopia civil war: Warring sides begin peace talks

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The two sides in Ethiopia's civil war have begun formal peace talks for the first time since the conflict started nearly two years ago.

The African Union-brokered talks are being held in South Africa, where a spokesperson for the president confirmed the news.

The fighting in and around Ethiopia's northern Tigray region is thought to have left tens of thousands dead.

It has also created a humanitarian emergency in its aftermath.

Soldiers from both sides - the federal government and Tigrayan forces - have also been accused of war crimes and carrying out atrocities.

There are few details of what exactly happening in the negotiations or what is on the agenda.

The talks have been "convened to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to the devastating conflict in the Tigray region" and will end on Sunday, Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa told reporters.

The AU, along with the UN and US, has been urging the Ethiopian federal government to sit down with its Tigrayan opponents for months.

There were fears that a recent resurgence of heavy warfare could aggravate the already catastrophic situation for civilians.

A virtual blockade of Tigray has left millions in need of food aid as well as increases in deaths from malnutrition.

The Ethiopian government has not granted journalists access to Tigray since June 2021. With most communications cut off in the region, it has been hard to report on the extent of the conflict and humanitarian crisis.

Fighting started in November 2020 when federal Ethiopian forces tried to wrest control of the region from the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The blockade began when the TPLF mounted a counter-offensive and recaptured much of Tigray last year.

A recent upsurge in fighting that ended a five-month humanitarian truce has seen federal government troops capture key towns in Tigray.

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