The US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, will travel to Ethiopia this week to told talks with the authorities about the ongoing civil war.

The US State Department said that Mr Feltman was “to engage with senior officials regarding the prospects for a broader peace”.

The rebels have in recent times withdrawn to their stronghold Tigray region in the north of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government said its troops would not pursue the rebels into the region.

“We do believe this offers an opportunity for both sides to halt combat operations and come to the negotiating table,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

The special envoy’s visit comes after the US removed trade privileges for Ethiopia over rights abuse claims.

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