ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called on the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to reach a ceasefire after federal forces and their regional allies in Amhara and Afar were ordered to stay without going to attack further into the Tigray region.
On Friday, the Ethiopian Government Communications Service (GCS) said federal forces have been ordered to maintain their current positions without going to attack deep inside Tigray region. That announcement followed a decision by the TPLF chief to withdraw his forces from Amhara and Afar regions in an attempt to create ‘an opening for peace’.
In a statement, the Deputy UN Spokesman Farhan Hag said the UN chief has welcomed the decision by the Ethiopian government to cease attacks against the Tigray region and urged the parties to use the opportunity to make a ceasefire which he said will help ensure that humanitarian aid reach the needy.
“The Secretary-General welcomes the Government of Ethiopia’s announcement yesterday that the Ethiopian National Defence Force will pause at its current positions. He also welcomes the Tigrayan forces’ message that they had withdrawn from the Afar and Amhara regions back into the Tigray region,” the statement said.
“The Secretary-General urges the parties to grasp this opportunity, cease hostilities in the year-long conflict, take all steps to ensure the provision of much-needed humanitarian assistance, the withdrawal of foreign fighters, and address political differences through a credible and inclusive national dialogue,” the statement added.
It says the Secretary-General “also welcomes the Tigrayan forces’ message that they had withdrawn from the Afar and Amhara regions back into the Tigray region.”
“The Secretary-General encourages the parties to continue engagement with the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, President Olusegun Obasanjo, and reiterates the full support of the United Nations to President Obasanjo’s mediation efforts. He calls on the international community to play a constructive role in supporting an end to the fighting.”
Last week, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held a special session where countries voted to establish an international expert commission to investigate allegations of violations during the conflict.
The government in Addis Ababa has lamented the move calling it a political game being played against the East African country by some foreign powers. None of the 13 African members of the Council voted to support the formation of the committee.