UN Security Council calls for end to Ethiopia hostilities

AP , Saturday 6 Nov 2021

The U.N. Security Council called for an end to the intensifying and expanding conflict in Ethiopia on Friday, and for unhindered access for humanitarian aid to tackle the world's worst hunger crisis in a decade in the war-torn Tigray region.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Maarit Kohonen Sheriff, left, Chief, Africa Branch, Michelle Bachelet, center, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Francoise Mianda, right, Section Chief, East and Southern Africa, speak to the media about the Tigray. AP

The U.N.'s most powerful body expressed serious concern about the impact of the conflict on ‘the stability of the country and the wider region’, and called on all parties to refrain ‘from inflammatory hate speech and incitement to violence and divisiveness’.

The press statement was approved by the 15 council members the day after the first anniversary of the war in the northern Tigray region that has killed thousands of people and displaced millions. It was only the council's second statement on the conflict, and the first to address the worsening conflict.

‘Today the Security Council breaks six months of silence and speaks again with one united voice on the deeply concerning situation in Ethiopia’, said Ireland's U.N. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason. ‘For the first time, the Council clearly calls for a cessation of hostilities. We believe this should happen immediately, and that all civilians must be protected’.

The statement was drafted by Ireland, Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and St. Vincent and The Grenadines. Those countries and the United States had called for an open Security Council meeting on Ethiopia on Friday afternoon, but it was postponed until early next week, probably Monday. Diplomats said African Union representatives weren't available to participate so the meeting was delayed.

The council called on the parties ‘to put an end to hostilities and to negotiate a lasting cease-fire, and for the creation of conditions for the start of an inclusive Ethiopian national dialogue to resolve the crisis and create the foundation for peace and stability throughout the country’.

Council members said the language in the statement was watered down after objections from Russia to the original statement which ‘called on all parties to immediately end hostilities without preconditions’.

But the statement, read by Mexico's U.N. Ambassador Juan Ramon De La Fuente Ramirez, the current council president, did call for an end to hostilities -- though without the word immediately. It did single out ‘the expansion and intensification of military clashes in northern Ethiopia’.

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