UN Security Council calls for urgent ceasefire in Ethiopia

15-member UN council warns conflict poses risks for Ethiopia and wider region's stability

15-member UN council warns conflict poses risks for Ethiopia and wider region’s stability

The UN Security Council called on Ethiopia’s warring parties on Friday to halt all hostilities and turn to negotiations to broker a ceasefire, voicing “serious concern” over the conflict’s fallout.

The council specifically warned of the conflict’s ramifications for Ethiopia’s and east Africa’s stability, urging all parties to refrain “from inflammatory hate speech and incitement to violence and divisiveness.”

In addition to a “lasting ceasefire, negotiations should also address “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,” the council said in a statement.

“The Members of the Security Council called for the respect of international humanitarian law, for safe and unhindered humanitarian access, the re-establishment of public services, and further urged the scaling up of humanitarian assistance,” it said.

“The Members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Ethiopia,” it added.

A meeting of the Security Council previously scheduled to take place on Friday was also rescheduled for early next week just minutes before it was to take place. It is now expected on Monday.

The flurry of diplomatic activity comes as Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels make major battlefield advances against government forces, claiming more territory as they close in on the capital of Addis Ababa and strike alliances with other armed groups.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Forces and the Oromo Liberation Army reportedly joined with seven other groups to announce a united front against the central government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Ethiopia’s 547-seat parliament met Thursday and endorsed with an almost unanimous vote a six-month nationwide state of emergency declared Tuesday by the Council of Ministers. There was one abstention.

A joint UN-Ethiopia probe released this week said it discovered evidence of unlawful or extrajudicial killings and executions, torture, and widespread arbitrary detentions, abductions and enforced disappearances by both sides. Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s human rights chief, further said “big numbers of violations” are linked to Ethiopian forces and their allies from Eritrea.

The alarming report was unveiled as the Tigray conflict entered its second year this week with no sign of an end in sight. Escalating clashes in recent weeks led the Ethiopian government to impose a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday as Tigray forces closed in on the capital.

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