Addis Abeba – The U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he had “a telephone conversation” with the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, “to exchange views with him on the conflict in Ethiopia following his latest visit to Addis Abeba and Mekelle, the capital of the regional state of Tigray.”
In a statement he released this afternoon, Mr. Guterres said he was “delighted that after over a year of armed conflict which has affected millions of people across Ethiopia and the rest of the region, there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace.”
AU’s Horn envoy and former Nigerian President was in Mekelle last week and met with Tigray’s leadership as part of AU’s efforts to bring peace in Ethiopia’s 15 months civil war.
Mr. Obasanjo has briefed the U.N. Chief “about the efforts being made by the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) to move towards a resolution of the violent conflict and expressed optimism that there is now a real opportunity for political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict,” the statement said.
However, Mr. Guterres cautions that the “ongoing military operations in some parts of Ethiopia remain a challenge to the peace process and sour the confidence building measures that we hope are being taken by all parties in the conflict. Let me reiterate my call on all parties to move rapidly towards cessation of hostilities as a critical step in the right direction for peace-making.”
On January 14, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the UN was “alarmed by the multiple, deeply disturbing reports we continue to receive of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian objects resulting from airstrikes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. At least 108 civilians have reportedly been killed and 75 others injured since the year began, as a result of air strikes allegedly carried out by the Ethiopian air force.”
Mr Guterres pledged that the United Nations “stands ready to support an all-inclusive and nationally owned dialogue, peace, security, and reconciliation process in Ethiopia,” and called on the international community to “continue to emphasize the need for all parties to demonstrate sincerity and commitment to the peace process.”
“While we observe the AU-led peace process with great hope, we remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in various parts of Ethiopia affected by the war. I again call on all actors in the conflict to support and facilitate local and international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those in need.,” the U.N. Chief said. AS