The African Union on October 1 invited the political leadership of Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray’s regional government to meet in South Africa as part of an international effort to promote the cessation of hostilities and define a peace plan. Both sides had previously indicated their readiness to participate in negotiations.
The invitation was made by African Union Special Envoy Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, along with former president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and former vice-president of South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/5/ethiopia-ti).
Ethiopia’s federal government readily accepted the invitation, and Addis Ababa’s National Security Secretary Redwan Hussein described it as “in line with the government’s previous position” (https://addisstandard.com/news-ethiopia-says-it-accepts-peace-talks-invitation-by-au/?fbclid=IwAR3bE7qOxLVLicm_O1SxQk37Vyfdz_6q6ShH7gYZ_vYfj-wSFppegqwUqLI). Shortly thereafter came confirmation of acceptance also from the government of the regional state of Tigray, which, however, specified the reasons for its acceptance in a communiqué issued on the same October 5 signed by President Debretsion Gebremichael (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/5/ethiopian-government-tigray-rebels-accept-peace-talks-invitation).
In the communiqué, the chairman of Tigray’s federal government, along with the acceptance of the invitation, asked the African Union whether the same would also entail a request to federal forces to cease hostilities. In the communiqué, Debretsion Gebremichael also asked the African Union for clarification on the meeting in South Africa, and especially whether other participating actors, observers or mere guarantors, would be present.
However, the talks, which were to be held the weekend of October 8 and 9, chaired by Moussa Faki Mahmat of the African Union, were postponed for logistical reasons and a new meeting date has not yet been announced (https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/ethiopia-peace-talks-delayed-logistical-reasons-diplomats-2022-10-07/).
Although officially only postponed, it has become clear that the reason for the need to identify a new date is not related to mere logistical reasons related to the possibility of bringing delegations to South Africa, but rather to a general poor organizational coordination and lack of prior involvement of the parties in agenda setting (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/08/postponement-of-tigray-peace-talks-latest-blow-in-ethiopias-hidden-war).
Instead, fighting continues on the ground in Tigray, where on October 3 the TPLF government announced that it had withdrawn its military units present in Amhara territory (the result of recent gains as part of counteroffensives against regional militias and their Fano allies), in order to reinforce the northern front, which is affected by a mighty offensive by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces (https://www.legit.ng/world/africa/1495599-tigray-rebels-announce-troop-deployment-northern-ethiopia/). On the same day, ENDF and Amhara forces appeared to have regained control of the towns of Gobiye, Kobo, Robit, Boren and Rare in the North Wollo region, while a new joint offensive by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces reportedly led to the capture of the town of Adi Awala, in the vicinity of Shiraro, on October 5.
On October 4, an air raid led by federal forces reportedly struck a school in the town of Adi Daero, killing about 50 people, according to press reports. The school according to Tigrinya forces allegedly housed displaced persons and cooperators from international organizations, while targets targeted by the airstrikes are defined by federal forces as weapons depots and military logistics centers (https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/more-than-50-killed-northern-ethiopia-air-strike-say-aid-workers-tigray-forces-2022-10-05/).
Then, on October 6, Eritrean and Ethiopian forces reportedly resumed advancing in the direction of Shire, capturing Adi Hageray, confirming how a pincer operation is in full swing across northern Tigray.