The UN Security Council on Friday called for an end to fighting in Ethiopia and expressed serious concern about intensifying conflict in the country’s northern Tigre region.
In a statement approved by all 15 members, the council urged all parties in Ethiopia to “end hostilities and negotiate a permanent ceasefire.”
The council also called for refraining from “inflammatory hate speech and incitement to violence and division.”
The statement came a day after the first anniversary of the start of the conflict in Tigre. It is only the second time since the start of the fighting that the UN Security Council has issued a statement on Ethiopia.
“Today the Security Council has broken a six-month silence and is speaking again with a united voice on the dire situation in Ethiopia,” Geraldine Byrne Naison, Ireland’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement. She said it was the first time the council had called for an end to hostilities in Ethiopia.
According to the Associated Press, members of the council said the language in the statement was amended to remove calls for an “immediate” end of hostilities “unconditionally” because of Russia’s objections.
The UN call came as Tigre forces in Ethiopia announced on Friday that they had aligned with other armed and opposition groups across the country, including forces in the Oromo region, to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. They said they were ready to bring down the prime minister through talks or force.
The government of Ethiopia called the creation of the coalition “a propaganda stunt”.
A group of anti-government forces are threatening to march in the capital, Addis Ababa, according to Reuters.
The US State Department on Friday urged all Americans to leave Ethiopia “as soon as possible”, according to a security alert posted on the website of the US embassy in Addis Ababa.
The alert described the security situation in the country as “very fluid”.
The State Department warned Americans on its travel advisory website: “Do not travel to Ethiopia because of the potential for armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruption, crime and terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.”
The Ethiopian government on Wednesday declared a six-month state of emergency and called on residents to protect their neighborhoods when rebels arrive in the capital.
Thursday marked the first anniversary of the deployment of troops to Tigre by Prime Minister Abiy in response to Tigre People’s Liberation Front forces that had captured military bases a day earlier. The ensuing conflict has left thousands dead, several million displaced from their homes and 400,000 Tigre residents facing famine, according to a July 1 estimate by the United Nations.
A joint investigation by the United Nations and the government-produced Ethiopian Human Rights Commission published findings on Wednesday that all parties to the conflict have committed human rights violations, including torturing civilians, gang rape and arresting people based on ethnicity. .
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said some of these abuses could be war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Some information in this report has been received from Reuters and Associated Press.