UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was upbeat by the prospects of a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict in northern Ethiopia.
In a statement, Guterres said he held a telephone conversation with Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union (AU) high representative for the Horn of Africa, to exchange views on the conflict in Ethiopia following the latter’s latest visit to Addis Ababa and Mekelle, the capital of the regional state of Tigray, reports Xinhua news agency.
Obasanjo briefed him on the efforts being made by the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to move toward a resolution of the violent conflict.
Obasanjo expressed optimism that there is now a real opportunity for a political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict, said Guterres.
“I am delighted that after over a year of armed conflict which has affected millions of people across Ethiopia and the rest of the region, there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace,” he said.
“Ongoing military operations in some parts of Ethiopia remain a challenge to the peace process and sour the confidence-building measures that we hope are being taken by all parties in the conflict.
“Let me reiterate my call on all parties to move rapidly toward cessation of hostilities as a critical step in the right direction for peace-making,” said the UN chief.
The UN stands ready to support an all-inclusive and nationally owned dialogue, peace, security, and reconciliation process in Ethiopia, Guterres said, adding that the international community must continue to emphasize the need for all parties to demonstrate sincerity and commitment to the peace process.
While the AU-led peace process offers hope, the UN remains concerned about the humanitarian situation in various parts of Ethiopia affected by the war, he said, calling on all actors in the conflict to support and facilitate local and international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those in need.
Ethiopian federal government forces and the TPLF have been fighting each other in Tigray since November 2020.
The conflict later spilled into neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions.