Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed is expected to meet the envoys – but may not allow them to meet his opponents.
Three special peace envoys appointed by African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa are expected to meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa this week to discuss how to end the country’s three-week old civil war. But there are fears that Abiy – who has insisted that foreigners should not meddle in Ethiopian internal affairs – will not allow them to meet his Tigrayan enemies in the conflict.
South Africa has helped to suspend action by the UN Security Council on the conflict, to give Ramaphosa’s emissaries a chance to find “an African solution to an African problem,” as a South African diplomat put it.
But Pretoria is concerned that the three former African presidents – South Africa’s Kgalema Motlanthe, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano – may get “the Mnangagwa treatment” from Abiy.
This refers to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s meeting another three envoys sent by Ramaphosa to Harare in August and refusing to allow them to meet the Zimbabwean opposition to address the growing crisis in that country.
That refusal seems to have effectively terminated South…