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Uhuru set for first assignment as peace envoy

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to take up his position as a peace envoy exactly a month after President William Ruto’s appointment.

Mr Kenyatta is among the African leaders who will mediate the African Union (AU)-led peace talks between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after more than a year of conflict that has claimed an unknown number of lives and displaced many.

The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and uprooted millions.

“The Ethiopian government has accepted this invitation which is in line with our principled position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the need to have talks without preconditions,” Redwan Hussein, the national security adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said on Twitter.

The peace meeting which is slated to take place in South Africa from Saturday will be led by the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa and ex-Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo.

South Africa’s former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will also be part of the mediators.

“The Peace talks between the two parties, is expected to deliberate on the guiding principles agenda issues, modalities, format and timelines for the negotiated settlement aimed at laying the foundation for a structured and sustained mediation between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the TPLF, towards durable resolution of the conflict,” read a letter from AU President Moussa Faki addressed to TPLF’s Head Debretsion Gebremichael.

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During his swearing in ceremony, President Ruto appointed his predecessor as his peace envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, which will make the former president continue chairing regional peace interventions on behalf of the Government of Kenya.

“I have committed that the government of Kenya will support those initiatives that will be chaired by President Kenyatta and I want to thank you Excellency for graciously agreeing to support us and help me in those interventions,” President Ruto said.

The announcement was made by Dr Ruto when delivering his inauguration speech as the President at Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani in Nairobi, soon after Mr Kenyatta handed over the instruments of power to him.

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President Ruto acknowledged his predecessors’ diplomacy efforts and toward the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region, vowing to fully support his peace intervention endeavours.

Mr Kenyatta’s appointment come a day after Tigrayan forces agreed to negotiate with Addis Ababa under the auspices of the African Union.

The rebels have been expressing confidence in Kenya as the chosen host of peace talks with Ethiopia with the former Kenyan leader playing a lead role.

Mr Kenyatta, though retired now remains an influential figure in the region and certainly, the idea of President Ruto having him continue with what he started when he was President places him way ahead.

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