Wednesday, December 1, 2021

UN Security Council calls on Ethiopia to end hostilities

United Nations (NWN) – The United Nations Security Council on Friday called for an end to the intense and extended conflict in Ethiopia and unhindered access to humanitarian aid to tackle the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade in the war-torn Tigre region.

The UN’s most powerful body expressed serious concern about the conflict’s impact on “the stability of the country and the wider region” and called on all sides to refrain from “inflammatory hate speech and incitement to violence and division”.

The press statement was approved by 15 council members the day after the first anniversary of the war in the northern Tigre region, which killed thousands and displaced millions. This was only the council’s second statement on the conflict, and the first to address the worsening conflict.

“Today the Security Council has broken six months of silence and is speaking again with a united voice on the dire situation in Ethiopia,” said Geraldine Byrne Naison, Ireland’s UN ambassador. “For the first time, the Council explicitly calls for an end to hostilities. We believe this should happen immediately and that all civilians should be protected.”

The statement was drafted by Ireland, Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Those countries and the United States called an open Security Council meeting in Ethiopia on Friday afternoon, but it was postponed until early next week, perhaps until Monday. Diplomats said the meeting was delayed because representatives of the African Union were not available to attend.

The Council called on the parties “to end hostilities and negotiate a permanent ceasefire and to create conditions for the beginning of an inclusive Ethiopian national dialogue to resolve the crisis and build a foundation for peace and stability”. Country.”

Council members said the language in the statement was reduced following Russia’s objections to the original statement, which “calls on all parties to immediately end hostilities without any preconditions.”

But the statement read by Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez, the UN ambassador to Mexico, the current council president, called for an end to hostilities – though without word immediately. It underscored the “expansion and intensification of military conflicts in northern Ethiopia”.

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In recent weeks, the conflict has expanded, with Tigre forces occupying major cities on a major highway leading to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and engaging with another armed group, the Oromo Liberation Army, With whom he had tied up in August.

Months of political tensions between the government of Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed and Tigre leaders, who once dominated Ethiopia’s government, turned into war last November. After some fierce fighting of the conflict, Ethiopian troops fled the Tigre capital, Mekele, in June. Faced with the current Tigre offensive, President Abiy on Tuesday declared a national emergency with broad deterrence powers.

Tigre forces say they are pressuring Ethiopia’s government to lift a deadly months-long blockade on its territory of nearly 6 million people, where basic services have been cut off and humanitarian food and medical aid denied. Has been done.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last month that at least 5.2 million people in the region need humanitarian aid, including at least 400,000 “living in famine-like conditions”. He warned that the level of malnutrition among children is now at the same level it was at the start of the 2011 famine in Somalia.

The press statement reiterated the Security Council’s support for the African Union’s role in resolving the conflict and gave strong support to the “strategy and efforts to achieve a ceasefire and a speedy and peaceful resolution of the conflict” being undertaken by the High Representative of the AU . For the Horn of Africa region, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.

The Security Council statement did not mention an earlier announcement on Friday that in August Tigre forces allied with the Oromo Liberation Army formed an alliance with seven other armed and opposition groups seeking a political change against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Is. The coalition left open the possibility of their expulsion by force.

Amid fears that violence similar to the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s could lead to the division of Ethiopia, the council members “reaffirmed their strong commitment to Ethiopia’s sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity.” “

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