#AceNewsReport – June.30: The cease-fire could calm a war that has destabilized Africa’s second most populous country and threatened to do the same in the wider Horn of Africa, where Ethiopia has been seen as a key security ally for the West. It comes as the country awaits the results of national elections that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promoted as the centerpiece of reforms that won him the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
TIGRAY: Ethiopia’s Government Declares Immediate, Unilateral Ceasefire in Its Region on Monday as its people face worst famine crisis in a decade as the second horseman of the apocalypse rears its ugly head and today sporadic fighting has continues …
FILE – In this Thursday, May 6, 2021 file photo, the city of Mekele is seen through a bullet hole in a stairway window of the Ayder Referral Hospital, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s government said in a statement carried by state media Monday, June 28, 2021, that it has “positively accepted” a call for an immediate, unilateral cease-fire in its Tigray region after nearly eight months of deadly conflict. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
Abiy’s transformation from making peace to waging war has appalled many observers since the fighting in Tigray erupted in November. Since then, the world has struggled to access much of the region and investigate growing allegations of atrocities including gang rapes and forced starvation.
Ethiopia’s statement was carried by state media shortly after the Tigray interim administration, appointed by the federal government, fled the regional capital, Mekele, and called for a cease-fire on humanitarian grounds so that desperately needed aid can be delivered. Meanwhile, Mekele residents cheered the arrival of Tigray forces.
The cease-fire “will enable farmers to till their land, aid groups to operate without any military movement around and engage with remnants (of Tigray’s former ruling party) who seek peace,” Ethiopia’s statement said, adding that efforts to bring Tigray’s former leaders to justice continue.
Ethiopia said the cease-fire will last until the end of the crucial planting season in Tigray. The season’s end comes in September. The government ordered all federal and regional authorities to respect the cease-fire — crucial as authorities and fighters from the neighboring Amhara region have been accused of atrocities in western Tigray.
“The government has the responsibility to find a political solution to the problem,” the head of the interim administration, Abraham Belay, said in calling for the cease-fire, adding that some elements within Tigray’s former ruling party are willing to engage with the federal government.
There was no immediate comment from the Tigray fighters, with whom Ethiopia had rejected talks. And there was no immediate comment from neighboring Eritrea, whose soldiers have been accused by Tigray residents of some of the worst atrocities in the war.
Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict as Ethiopian and allied forces pursue Tigray’s former leaders and their supporters, and as humanitarian groups plead for more access to the region of 6 million people.
The region in recent days has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict. International pressure on Ethiopia spiked again last week after a military airstrike on a busy market in Tigray killed more than 60 people.
Amid the upheaval on Monday, the United Nations children’s agency said Ethiopian soldiers entered its office in Mekele and dismantled satellite communications equipment, an act it said violated the world body’s immunity. UNICEF last week warned that at least 33,000 severely malnourished children face “imminent risk of death” without more aid reaching Tigray’s people.
Joint UN-Government Tigray mission highlights humanitarian needs and path forward
ADDIS ABABA/ROME – Today, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, Catherine Sozi, and the Federal Minister of Peace of the Government of Ethiopia, Muferihat Kamil, completed a joint visit to Mekelle in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, aiming to highlight the need for strong partnership to rapidly scale up a Government-led collective response to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of people in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region.
Mr. Beasley commended the emergency food assistance that the Government and partners have already provided to the people of Tigray since the onset of the crisis, reaching almost 1.7 million people with emergency food distributions. 26,000 Eritrean refugees residing in two camps have also received food and nutrition assistance.
“But we must do more, together, to meet the needs of the population,” said Mr. Beasley, noting with concern that, “Latest preliminary estimates indicate that 2.5 to 3 million people in the region require emergency food assistance. Reports indicate that the nutrition situation requires greater attention, with young children and pregnant and lactating mothers the most vulnerable.”
Minister Muferihat indicated that the Government of Ethiopia has welcomed recent positive engagements with the Government by senior UN officials, including the Under-Secretary General for Safety and Security, the High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme.
“To ensure that humanitarian assistance in Tigray can be expanded and intensified without delay, the Government is moving with urgency to approve requests for international staff movements into and within Tigray, “ said the Minister, adding that, “Several such requests have been approved over the past few days and the process of rapid and streamlined approvals will continue. The Government will also review visa requests for international humanitarian staff with urgency and priority. Communication capability for UN and humanitarian partners with significant operations in Tigray will be enhanced.”
Confirming the critical importance of enhanced operational presence and communication capability to allow UN agencies and humanitarian partners to scale up humanitarian interventions in Tigray, Ms. Sozi said, “These recent and anticipated developments related to staff movement approvals and communication capability will allow international agencies to design and manage operations safely and responsibly, in close partnership with the Government. This is a tremendous step forward.”
Mr. Beasley announced that WFP has accepted a request from the Government to augment the transportation capacity of the Government and partners to deliver humanitarian assistance into and within Tigray. WFP has also agreed to provide emergency food relief assistance to up to 1 million people in Tigray and launch a blanket supplementary feeding intervention to assist up to 875,000 nutritionally vulnerable children and pregnant and lactating mothers.
SOURCES: The Associated Press, Cara Anna/WPF/
#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Jun.30: 2021:
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