After Ethiopian Cardinal’s Call for Dialogue, Tigray Forces Agree to AU-led Peace Talks

Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel of Addis Ababa Archdiocese in Ethiopia. Credit: CBCE

Following the Ethiopian Cardinal’s call for dialogue and ceasefire after years of violence in the country’s Tigray region, members of the Tigrayan forces have said they are willing to engage in peace talks to be mediated by the African Union (AU). 

Tigrayan forces from the Northern region of Ethiopia have “called for an immediate cease-fire”, VOA has reported on Monday, September 12, adding that the forces “would join an African Union-led peace process after three weeks of renewed fighting ended a fragile truce.”

“(T)he Government of Tigray is prepared to participate in a robust peace process under the auspices of the African Union,” VOA has quoted the members of the Tigrayan forces as saying in a Sunday, September 11 statement.

The Tigrayan forces’ call for a truce and their readiness for an AU-led peace process came hours after the Catholic Archbishop of Addis Ababa called for dialogue to end the violence.

In his message on the occasion of the celebration of Ethiopia’s New Year 2015 marked on September 11 Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel is quoted wishing that citizens of the Horn of Africa nation give peace and reconciliation a chance.


“Dear brothers and sisters, our country is in an internal war. In the New Year, our church implores all parties to give space for peace and reconciliation, to sit down for dialogue to save our country and people from destruction, for war is destructive, and nobody benefits from it,” Cardinal Souraphiel says.

The Archbishop of Addis Ababa who doubles as the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) called upon Ethiopians to use their time well by becoming “instruments of peace”.  

“We use our time (well) when we accept responsibility for the past and the present. We save time when we become instruments of peace. Peace starts from our thoughts,” he said. 

The member of the Congregation of the Mission added, “Our conversations should lead to peace. The gospel teaches us that our speech should heal wounds and lead to reconciliation and unity,”

“Conversations that bring hatred and unnecessary competition hurt us. Words that abuse brothers and sisters should be avoided at home, work, school, and especially on social media,” he further said, and continued, “Rather, peaceful dialogue that prioritizes the common good benefits us all.”

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The Ethiopian Cardinal emphasized the need to respect human life, saying, “The commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is for everyone. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ means respect the life of all people.”

The commandment applies to all humans regardless of their associations, he said in his message on the occasion of Ethiopia’s New Year 2015 celebrated on September 11.

The Horn of Africa nation has its own calendar with 13 months, with 12 of the months having 30 days, the remaining one with five and six days in a leap year, respectively.

In his good will message to the people of God in Ethiopia on the occasion of the New Year 2015, Pope Francis pledged to pray for peace and reconciliation in the Horn of Africa nation.

“I offer my greetings to the Ethiopians who are celebrating the New Year," Pope Francis said after the Angelus Prayer on Sunday, September 11, and adding that he will be praying for "the gift of peace and reconciliation".


Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.