“The peace process in Colombia inspires me to make an urgent appeal today to the parties to the conflict in Ethiopia for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to save the country,” Guterres said in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, during a visit to this South American country to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the signing of a peace agreement there.
He added that this ceasefire should “allow for dialogue between Ethiopians to resolve the crisis and allow Ethiopia to contribute once again to the stability of the region.”
This call from the Secretary-General of the United Nations comes at a time when the diplomatic efforts made by the international community have so far failed to reach a ceasefire between government forces and the rebels, who claim that they are advancing towards the capital, Addis Ababa.
The fighting in Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, has left thousands dead and put hundreds of thousands at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations.
In the fall of 2020, Addis Ababa sent its forces to Tigray to overthrow the regional authorities emanating from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused the region’s forces of attacking federal army positions.
In the aftermath of fierce battles, Abiy declared victory on November 28, but in June the fighters of the front regained control of the greater part of Tigray before advancing towards the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara.
The Front has also allied itself with other rebel groups such as the Oromo Liberation Army, which is active in the Oromia region surrounding Addis Ababa.
This week, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front declared control of Shewa Rubet, 220 km northeast of Addis Ababa, by land.