Peace talks between warring sides on Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict have been extended into Monday.
An official familiar with the arrangements for the talks confirms that discussions continue in South Africa between Ethiopia’s federal government and representatives from the northern Tigray region.
The African Union-led talks seek a cessation of hostilities in a war that the US asserts has killed up to hundreds of thousands of people, an estimate made by some academics and health workers.
The first formal peace talks began last week, and South Africa’s government had said they would end Sunday. According to media sources, negotiations between the Ethiopian government and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in South Africa reached a near impasse due to the parties ‘ clinging to their positions, and this led to their extension for two more days.
Some diplomatic sources revealed that the two sides failed to reach agreements on contentious issues between them.
The sources said that among the conditions set by the Tigris front is an immediate ceasefire and an end to military operations in the Tigray region, in addition to facilitating humanitarian access to the affected areas urgently, and the need for material compensation to the front and the region in general due to the damage caused by the Ethiopian government by waging a siege for more than two years on the region.
The sources explained that the Ethiopian government, for its part, stipulated the disarmament of the Tigris front and the full subordination of the territory to the sovereignty of the federal government, and the abolition of a body called the ” Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front which Addis Ababa considers to pose a threat to the unity and sovereignty of Ethiopian territory.
These demands have caused a disagreement between the parties, which has led to a stumbling of the agenda in the negotiations.
The source said that if the TPLF accepts the conditions of the Ethiopian government, the government pledges to resume access to basic services such as electricity and banking services to the region. It also pledged to deliver the necessary humanitarian aid, but in its own way, given that “the TPLF stole trucks, fuel belonging to international humanitarian organizations and humanitarian aid and used it for military purposes,” according to Addis Ababa.
Neighboring Eritrea, whose forces are fighting alongside Ethiopian ones, is not a party to the talks, and it is not clear whether the deeply repressive country will respect any agreement reached.