Reports of intense fighting in northern Ethiopia, including recent offensives around Adi Daero and Shire, stand in stark contrast to the repeatedly stated commitments by both the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The European Union deplores the dramatic escalation of violence and the irreparable cost to human life, including the confirmed death of a humanitarian worker in Shire who was deployed to bring relief to a population in distress. While the civilian population bears the brunt of the conflict, International Humanitarian Law manifests the clear imperative of unhindered humanitarian access and protection of those delivering emergency relief. Respecting international humanitarian law and human rights is not an option; it is an obligation for all.
The EU calls for an immediate halt to the joint offensives launched by Ethiopian National Defence Forces in collaboration with Eritrean Defence Forces, and a full withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the sovereign territory of Ethiopia. The repeated use of drone airstrikes against populated areas is exposing civilians to heightened risks. The EU equally exhorts the Tigray Forces to refrain from any further military operations, and to cease hostilities in neighbouring Amhara and Afar territories.
The EU calls on Ethiopia’s regional neighbours to contribute to the de-escalation of the conflict and refrain from any actions that may fuel the conflict. A further regionalisation of the conflict will only worsen the large-scale destruction, displacement, and atrocities against civilian populations and jeopardise the stability of the region.
Only peace talks can yield a sustainable resolution of the conflict and a credible path to ensuring Ethiopia’s stability, territorial integrity and prosperity. The AU-led mediation offers the prospect of achieving the robust political process that the Ethiopian federal government and the TPLF have both publicly and repeatedly called for. The EU commends and support the ongoing efforts of the AU-led mediation to convene in the coming days the launch of negotiations between both parties to the conflict. The EU expects the conflict parties to honour their commitments to the talks, which must begin without delay. To this end, the EU remains actively engaged with all relevant stakeholders and reaffirms its readiness to contribute with the African Union, regional and international partners to the goal of ending the conflict.