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‘Grasp this opportunity’, Guterres says, following announcements by Ethiopia and Tigray forces

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A family from Samre, in south-western Tigray, walked for two days to reach a camp for displaced people in Mekelle (file photo).

In the wake of recent developments in northern Ethiopia, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Saturday urged warring sides to seize the opportunity to bring an end to more than a year of fighting in the Tigray region.

 Mr. Guterres has welcomed the Ethiopian government’s announcement on Friday that the National Defence Force will pause at its current positions, Deputy UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a statement.

He also welcomed the message from the Tigrayan forces stating that they had withdrawn from neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions back into Tigray. 

“The Secretary-General urges the parties to grasp this opportunity, cease hostilities in the year-long conflict, take all steps to ensure the provision of much-needed humanitarian assistance, the withdrawal of foreign fighters, and address political differences through a credible and inclusive national dialogue,” the statement said.

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The Secretary-General encouraged the parties to continue engagement with the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He also underlined the UN’s full support of Mr. Obasanjo’s mediation efforts, and called on the international community to play a constructive role in supporting an end to the fighting.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held a special session where countries voted to establish an international expert commission to investigate allegations of violations during the conflict.
 

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