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UN backs African Union’s call for Ethiopia ceasefire

file photo: a tank damaged during the fighting between ethiopia’s national defense force (endf) and tigray special forces stands on the outskirts of humera town
A tank damaged during the fighting between Ethiopia's National Defense Force (ENDF) and Tigray Special Forces

The United Nations on Monday backed an immediate end to hostilities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and a return to peace talks, calling for all sides to protect civilians and adhere to international law as fighting continued.

“The situation in Ethiopia is spiraling out of control. Violence and destruction have reached alarming levels,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters at the United Nations one day after the African Union urged an immediate ceasefire.

“Hostilities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia must end now,” he said, adding: “There is no military solution.”

Guterres said the UN was ready to support the African Union in every possible way to end the “nightmare” for the Ethiopian people, noting that “civilians are paying a horrific price” amid indiscriminate attacks and reported attacks, including sexual violence.

“All parties must adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law,” he told reporters.

On Sunday, the African Union in a statement called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian services. On Monday, fighting continued as sources said Ethiopian government forces had captured one of the biggest cities in the northern region of Tigray. 

“The United Nations is ready to support the African Union in every possible way to end this nightmare for the Ethiopian people. We need the urgent resumption of talks towards an effective, lasting, political settlement,” Guterres said.

“The international community must rally together now for peace.”

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