UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged Ethiopia’s prime minister and the leader of its restive Tigray region to immediately halt the latest eruption of hostilities, which has set back efforts to restore peace and tackle a humanitarian crisis in Tigray.
Guterres also called for “the creation of conditions to restart an effective political dialogue” in separate phone calls with Ethiopian leader Abiy Ahmed and Debretsion Gebremichael, head of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Tigray authorities alleged Wednesday that Ethiopia’s military had launched a “large-scale” offensive for the first time in a year in Tigray, while the government countered that Tigray forces attacked first.
The conflict began in November 2020, killing thousands of people in Africa’s second-most populous country. Now, as then, both sides have acted at a moment when the world was focused elsewhere — the U.S. presidential election in 2020 and the six-month mark of the Ukraine war Wednesday.
The conflict had calmed in recent months amid slow-moving mediation efforts. But last week, Ahmed’s spokeswoman asserted that Tigray authorities were “refusing to accept peace talks,” and this week, Ethiopia’s military warned the public against reporting troop movements.