The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres on Monday intensified demands for an immediate end to hostilities in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region and withdrawal of Eritrean forces fighting alongside the government, saying “violence and destruction have reached alarming levels” and “civilians are paying a horrific price.”
The UN chief stressed that “there is no military solution” to the nearly two-year conflict between Tigrayan forces and the federal government, warning that “the situation in Ethiopia is spiralling out of control.”
Speaking to reporters at U.N. headquarters, he called for an urgent resumption of talks between the two sides and said, “The United Nations is ready to support the African Union in every possible way to end this nightmare for the Ethiopian people.”
Guterres told reporters that Ethiopia’s “social fabric is being ripped apart,” saying innocent people are being killed every day in indiscriminate attacks, including in residential areas, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes since hostilities resumed in August, many for the second time.
“We are also hearing disturbing accounts of sexual violence and other acts of brutality against women, children, and men,” Guterres said.
The warring parties had said they were ready to participate in AU-led talks which were due to take place in South Africa earlier this month, but they were postponed because of logistical and technical issues.