United Nations (UN) Chief Antonio Gutteres has revealed that external mediation to the conflict in northern Ethiopia has been rejected by national authorities and he’s worried about the implications of conflict on the region.
The area has been the scene of fighting for the past two weeks after Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered both a ground offensive and airstrikes after the regional leadership defied his authority to postpone national elections due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The UN continues to warn of a full-scale humanitarian crisis as thousands flee into neighbouring Sudan.
The Secretary-General says people are suffering.
“We are very worried about the situation in Ethiopia and particularly because of the dramatic humanitarian impact on what’s happening. We are doing everything possible to mobilize humanitarian support for the refugees that are already in Sudan, more than 20 000 and we have been asking for the full respect of international humanitarian laws.”
He says, “This is a matter of enormous concern to us and I hope that these appeals will be heard and I hope that this will end soon and that Ethiopia will be able to find the peace it needs for its development and the well-being of its people.”
In this video below, Ethiopians honour their soldiers as the war continues in the northern region:
Guterres was pressed on why the Security Council had yet to meet on the matter, weeks into the crisis.
He indicated that he was engaging with regional leaders including the head of the African Union and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“I’ve spoken with the head of IGAD, Prime Minister of Sudan, the President of South Africa, Chairperson of the African Union, Ethiopian PM and the Ethiopian President, several other actors.”
“Until now there has not been the acceptance by the Ethiopian authorities of any form of external mediation and that is probably the reason why this has not yet been discussed, there was not any initiative in the Security Council. We go on, entirely at the disposal of the Africa Union to support any AU initiative in this regard and as I said, our main concern now is the dramatic humanitarian impact,” says Guterres.