United States Special Envoy for the Horn of African Jeffrey Feltman, who is due to step down from the role at the end of January, will visit Ethiopia on Thursday for peace talks aimed at addressing the ongoing conflict.
A programme announced by the US State Department said Mr Feltman will return to Addis Ababa, for the third time since his appointment in April last year, to try and convince leaders to choose dialogue.
“I can confirm that Special Envoy Feltman will be in Addis Ababa January 6th for meetings with senior government officials to discuss prospects for peace talks.
“We’ll have more on his travels in the coming days, and we do expect to have more to read out then. He is planning to go back to Khartoum as well,” said Ned Price, the Department’s spokesman.
Feltman had tried before, and was often rebuffed, including a famous snub by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Mr Price said that the United States government continues to call for a ceasefire in Ethiopia.
“We have said for some time now that we seek an immediate cessation of hostilities, an end to ongoing human rights abuses and violations, unhindered humanitarian access, and a negotiated resolution to the conflict in Ethiopia, precisely because, in addition to the human suffering, it threatens peace and security in the Horn of Africa.
“This is in some ways an opportune time for the special envoy to engage with senior Ethiopian government officials, with Tigrayan forces having withdrawn into Tigray, and the Ethiopian Government stating it does not intend to pursue those forces into Tigray,” Mr Price said.
“There will be no military solution to the conflict. And we continue to support diplomacy as the first, the last, and the only option.
“And we reiterate our call for the Ethiopian Government to start a credible, inclusive national dialogue that includes comprehensive, transparent, transitional justice measures, including accountability for those responsible for atrocities.”