The United Nations urges the rebels, dubbed the Tigray Defense Forces, “To immediately and completely approve the ceasefire” decreed by the Ethiopian government on Monday after losing control of Makalé, the region’s capital, said UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo on Friday (July 2nd).
“A ceasefire observed by all parties would not only facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, but would also be a starting point for the political efforts necessary to chart a way out of the crisis”, she added at the opening of a public meeting of the Security Council, her first since November. “All parties must ensure the safe passage of aid workers for the continued delivery of supplies”, also underlined the person in charge of the UNO, specifying that there were no more entries of planes nor exits in the region of Tigray.
The meeting was requested by the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom. It required tough negotiations with African members of the Security Council (Kenya, Niger, Tunisia) who, like Ethiopia, did not want the Tigray issue to be a subject formally discussed by this body. According to these countries, supported by several other members (Russia, China in particular, having a right of veto in the Security Council), the conflict in Tigray is an internal affair in Ethiopia and if international efforts must be made. , it must be done by Africans, through the African Union for example.
More than 400,000 people in a famine situation
The American ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, on the contrary considered that the situation in Tigray was a subject for the Security Council. “This is the first opportunity for us to show that African lives matter as much as other lives in the world. What we need to see is action on the ground. We must see a permanent ceasefire; that all parties accept “ and “We must see the Eritrean troops return home”, she added.
Kenya has made a similar request for these Eritrean troops, accused of abuses in Tigray. Rejecting any interventionism by the Security Council, Kenya’s Ambassador to the UN Martin Kimani demanded that he “Encourages and supports Ethiopian solutions” to the conflict in Tigray.
Before the Council meeting, several NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Oxfam called for an effective application of the ceasefire, the latter organization asking to study the possibility of creating a ” air lift “ with Tigray to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Two crucial bridges for the delivery of aid were destroyed this week by Ethiopian forces, according to NGOs and the World Food Program.
More than 400,000 people have “Crossed the threshold of famine” in Tigray, at war for eight months, a senior UN official warned on Friday. The situation is « considerably worsened », said UN Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ramesh Rajasingham.