Ethiopia’s PM Abiy says government open to talks with Tigray rebels to end conflict

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Ethiopia’s government is open to talks with the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front to end a 15-month conflict in the country, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.

While the government has yet to negotiate with the TPLF, “this does not rule out the possibility of discussions,” Abiy’s office said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday.

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Abiy’s comments come days after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there was progress in efforts to end a civil war that’s left thousands of people dead, displaced millions, and damaged investor confidence.

The African Union and neighboring Kenya have been encouraging both sides to negotiate.

On Monday, Ethiopia’s parliament announced the formation of an 11-member National Dialogue Commission. The panel has been tasked with presenting proposals aimed at ending simmering tensions between the nation’s ethnic and political groups and conflict that has destabilized one of Africa’s most-populous nations.

Once ready, the commission’s proposals will be put to the Ethiopian people, Abiy said.

Read more: Ethiopia lifts state of emergency early, citing calming war

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