Ethiopia’s prime minister arrived in Khartoum on Friday to meet the chief of Sudan’s ruling military council in a bid to mediate in the political crisis that has followed the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.
“Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, together with his delegation, arrived in Khartoum, Sudan, this morning for talks,” Abiy’s office said on Twitter.
A diplomatic source said on Thursday that Ethiopia planned to meet members of both the ruling Transitional Military Council headed by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the opposition. Abiy’s exact schedule for Friday was not known.
The Ethiopian initiative follows the worst bloodshed in Sudan since Bashir was ousted by the military after four months of protests against his repressive three-decade rule.
The opposition says 108 people were killed in the storming of a civilian protest camp on Monday and a subsequent wider crackdown. The government put the toll at 61 people, including three security personnel.
The African Union on Thursday suspended Sudan until the establishment of civilian rule, intensifying global pressure on the military leaders to stand down.
Both sides had been in talks over a civilian-led transition to democracy. But the already faltering negotiations collapsed in the wake of the crackdown.
Abiy Ahmed, who took office in Ethiopia last year and introduced political and economic reforms, has won wide praise for his diplomacy skills, including brokering peace with his country’s neighbor and long-time foe Eritrea.