UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 5 (Reuters) – The UN Security Council on Friday called for an end to fighting in Ethiopia and talks on a lasting ceasefire as the 15-member body expressed its deep concern in a rare statement on the expansion and intensification of military clashes.
The council also “called for refraining from inflammatory hate speech and incitement to violence and division.”
He had been negotiating a declaration for several days and finally reached a compromise with Russia on the text, diplomats said. Such statements must be approved by consensus.
Russia and China have long made it clear that they believe the year-long conflict, which began in the northern Tigray region, is internal to Ethiopia. Both countries have veto powers of the council – along with the United States, Britain and France – so any strong council action, like sanctions, is unlikely.
The war, which has claimed thousands of lives and forced more than two million people from their homes, has intensified in recent weeks. As the rebels threaten to move to the capital Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian military on Friday called on the former troops to join them in fighting them, state media said. Read more
A scheduled Security Council meeting on Ethiopia on Friday has been postponed to Monday, said Mexican Ambassador to the UN Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez, chairman of the council for November.
The declaration on Ethiopia – drafted by Ireland, Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – was only the second by the Security Council last year.
“Today, the Security Council breaks six months of silence and speaks again with one voice on the deeply worrying situation in Ethiopia,” Irish Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason said in a statement .
“For the first time, the council clearly calls for a cessation of hostilities. We believe that should happen immediately and that all civilians must be protected, ”she said.
The United Nations has said that up to 7 million people in Ethiopia’s Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions are in need of assistance, including 5 million in Tigray, where some 400,000 people live in conditions close to starvation.
The Security Council “called for respect for international humanitarian law, for safe and unhindered humanitarian access, for the restoration of public services, and further urged for the intensification of humanitarian aid”.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; edited by Grant McCool
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