Washington sends a delegation to Ethiopia in support of peace, and the United Nations calls for reconciliation and warns of a humanitarian catastrophe in Tigray
A US delegation is scheduled to head to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in support of efforts to establish peace in the country by ending the conflict between the central government and the Tigray Liberation Front, at a time when the United Nations called for reconciliation, warning of a major humanitarian crisis in Tigray.
The US State Department said in a statement today, Saturday, that the delegation that will visit Addis Ababa in the coming days will include the US special envoy to the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, and Molly, the assistant secretary of state.
The statement added that the US delegation will encourage government officials in Ethiopia to seize the current opportunity for peace by ending air strikes and hostilities and negotiating a ceasefire.
And the US State Department reported that Secretary Anthony Blinken held a virtual meeting on Friday with the United Nations Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer on efforts to support humanitarian needs in Ethiopia and Afghanistan.
The statement said Blinken, Griffiths and Maurer discussed the urgent need for a cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia.
Hours earlier, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the parties to the conflict in Ethiopia to stop the fighting and start dialogue and reconciliation.
Guterres expressed his deep sorrow over the suffering of the Ethiopian people, and called for facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to those who need it in Ethiopia.
Since November 2020, for more than a year, the Ethiopian forces and the Tigray Liberation Front have fought a bloody conflict, killing thousands and putting millions of people on the brink of starvation.
The fighting recently stopped after the withdrawal of the Tigray Front militants from the regions of Afar and Amhara towards their stronghold in the north of the country on the border with Sudan, but reports speak of air strikes that still target areas from time to time in Tigray.
On Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Office expressed concern about numerous reports of air strikes in Tigray province.
The UN office said that at least 108 civilians have been killed as a result of these air strikes since the beginning of this year.
Simultaneously, the spokesman for the World Food Program, Thomson Ferry, warned of a major humanitarian catastrophe about to occur in the Tigray region, which the Tigray Front accuses the government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of besieging.
Phiri said that due to the conflict in Tigray, no convoy of the World Food Program has reached the provincial capital, Mekele, since mid-December.
WFP staff members reported that relief depots in Tigray were completely empty.
For its part, the Ethiopian government has proposed the creation of a buffer zone run by UN humanitarian agencies to arrange the exchange of relief truck drivers for those who do not wish to travel outside the Tigray region.