JUBA – Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed has directed South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit to start mediation between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), according to South Sudan presidency spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny.
The move comes following Kiir’s visit to the Ethiopia capital Addis Ababa yesterday where he attended the swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Ahmed for a brand new term as the country’s prime minister after winning an election last July.
In an interview with the Juba-based Radio Miraya, Ateny said the President Kiir used the visit to discuss with the Ethiopian Prime Minister the possibility of starting the mediation process between the federal government and the Tigray rebel group.
“It will come down in the history given that President Salva Kiir is to mediate the Ethiopian conflict and by him attending the inauguration ceremony that has given him the space and time where he began the mediation process,” Ateny said Tuesday.
He said mediation will start one the preparations which are underway are complete.
“The mediation will start as soon as possible. Following his visit to Ethiopia, he was given go ahead by Dr. Ahmed and this is now being cemented by the fact that President Kiir was given a seat among the heads of nations and government to attend the inauguration ceremony,” he disclosed.
He disclosed the mediation delay was due to preparation for the inauguration of Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr. Ahmed.
“The President did not start mediation right away simply because he was waiting for this inauguration ceremony that has given Abiy Ahmed a mandate by people of Democratic Federal of Ethiopia whereby he is now ready to embark on the role,” he stated.
The Ethiopian government and the TPLF, which ruled Ethiopia for 27 years until 2018, have been fighting since last November.
According to official estimates, more than 2 million people have been internally displaced in Ethiopia, while tens of thousands have fled into neighboring Sudan.
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