The African Union (AU) called on Sunday for an immediate ceasefire in Tigray, where violence has escalated further. After the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, who expressed concern about the deterioration of the situation, it was the Chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who called for “a ceasefire”. -immediate and unconditional fire”.
“The President urges the parties to reiterate their commitment to dialogue in accordance with their agreement for direct talks to be convened in South Africa,” he added in a statement.
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In response, rebels of the People’s Liberation Front of Tiger (TPLF) said they were “ready to respect the immediate cessation of hostilities”. “We also call on the international community to force the Eritrean army to withdraw from Tigray, to take steps towards an immediate cessation of hostilities and to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to come to the negotiating table. “said the TPLF.
The latest fighting came as US special envoy for the region, Mike Hammer, arrived in Addis Ababa to press for an end to the nearly two-year-old war.
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The town of Shire, about 40 km south of the border with Eritrea in northwestern Tigray, has been “subjected to continuous air strikes and heavy artillery all this week”, a worker said. humanitarian on the spot. Led by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops, this joint offensive caused several civilian casualties.
A member of the NGO the International Rescue Committee (IRC) was killed and another injured in one of these attacks on October 14, which killed two other civilians, according to the IRC. He was distributing food to “WFP beneficiaries, including mothers and vulnerable children,” the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said on October 16.
Shortly before, the US Department’s Africa office had judged on Twitter that “the priority” was to “achieve an immediate cessation of hostilities”. Referring to the “recent indiscriminate attacks” by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces, the head of the United States Agency for Humanitarian Aid (USAID), Samantha Power, believes that “the risk of atrocities and additional loss of life is increasing, especially around Shire”.
Negotiations were planned in South Africa
The ball is now in the court of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government, which declined to comment immediately. The latter and the Tigrayan authorities had accepted an invitation from the AU to discuss, but the negotiations which were to begin last weekend in South Africa did not take place.
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Diplomats have suggested that logistical problems were partly behind their postponement. Clashes resumed in August in Tigray after a five-month lull, shaking hopes of resolving a conflict that has left scores of civilians dead and displaced some two million of people.