File Photo: Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed. AFP
The government says it has been invited by the African Union to peace talks in South Africa on Monday, and it would participate in the effort to resolve the spiralling conflict.
The AU's Peace and Security Council convened Friday and was briefed by its Horn of Africa envoy Olusegun Obasanjo, who is expected to mediate the looming talks.
The session came ahead of an expected meeting Friday of the UN Security Council to discuss the escalating crisis.
International pressure for a ceasefire has mounted since the AU failed earlier this month to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table, and fighting has intensified in embattled Tigray.
Rebel leaders from the war-torn region have not commented directly on the new date for talks, but reiterated their commitment to the AU-led peace process.
Abiy, who sent troops into Tigray in November 2020, said Thursday the war "would end and peace will prevail."
"Ethiopia will be peaceful, we will not continue fighting indefinitely," he told an audience at the opening of a civil project outside Addis Ababa.
"Ethiopia will be peaceful, we will not continue fighting indefinitely. I hope the day when we will stand with our Tigrayan brothers to work together for development is near."
Fighting resumed in August, shattering a truce and halting aid into Tigray, a region of six million that lacks food, medicine and other life-saving essentials.
In recent weeks, combat has intensified as Ethiopian forces and their Eritrean allies have captured a string of towns in Tigray, sending civilians fleeing.
The government this week vowed to seize airports and other federal sites from rebel control.
A humanitarian source told AFP on Friday that heavy fighting was underway between the cities of Shire and Axum in northern Tigray.
The spiralling conflict has spurred alarm for civilians and aid workers trapped in the warzone, and global calls for a ceasefire.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the UNSC and AU meetings "demonstrate the international community's great concern about the situation" and the need for violence to stop.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, he also renewed calls for a resumption of humanitarian aid to Tigray, and the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia.
The 15-member Peace and Security Council's last meeting on Tigray was in early August before major combat resumed, said the AU-focused Amani Africa think on Friday.
The AU was "widely perceived as responding inadequately to this situation" but had been "working hard" to ensure the peace talks got underway next week, the think tank wrote in a briefing note.
The aborted talks earlier this month were to be mediated by Obasanjo and supported by South Africa's former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.
Logistical problems were blamed for that meeting never taking place.
The conflict began nearly two years ago when Abiy accused the region's dissident ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), of attacking federal army camps.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopia's ruling political alliance for decades before Abiy took power in 2018 and sidelined the party.