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UN Chief: Visible effort underway for peace in Ethiopia

By MULUNEH GEBRE in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-01-21 21:14

Ethiopians who fled the fighting in Tigray region, gatherl in Hamdayet village near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, eastern Kassala state, Sudan Nov 22, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was delighted to learn that "a demonstrable effort is finally underway" to peacefully resolve the more than a year-long conflict in northern Ethiopia.

The Secretary-General's suggestion came following information relayed to him by the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa.

In a statement released on Wednesday by his spokesperson, Guterres spoke on the phone with the former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who is also the African Union's chief envoy to the Horn of Africa. They exchanged views on the conflict that has affected millions of people across the country and the rest of the region, since fighting began in northern Tigray in November 2020.

Obasanjo has been shuttling between the parties since he took up his post in August, trying to build support for a cease-fire and talks.

The chief envoy told Guterres about the efforts being made by the Ethiopia government and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front to move toward a resolution of the violent conflict.

In the call, Obasanjo also "expressed optimism that there is now a real opportunity for political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict".

Despite this optimism, the UN chief believes ongoing military operations "remain a challenge to the peace process and sour the confidence building measures that are being taken by all parties in the conflict".

He also reiterated his call on all parties to rapidly end hostilities as a step in the right direction for peace-making. "The United Nations stands ready to support an all-inclusive and nationally owned dialogue, peace, security, and reconciliation process in Ethiopia," he said.

According to the UN chief, the international community must continue to emphasize the need for all parties to demonstrate sincerity and commitment to the peace process.  

In his statement, the secretary-general called on all actors in the conflict to support and facilitate local and international efforts to provide humanitarian aid. "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," he said.

Currently, an estimated 9.4 million people require humanitarian food assistance, 2.7 million more than the figure four months ago, the statement said.

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