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World EU crisis envoy urges Ethiopia to restore Tigray communications

22:31  03 december  2020
22:31  03 december  2020 Source:   msn.com

Calls to protect civilians in Ethiopia as decisive battle looms

  Calls to protect civilians in Ethiopia as decisive battle looms International pressure mounted Tuesday on the warring parties in northern Ethiopia to cease fighting and protect civilians in Tigray, whose leaders Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has given a deadline to surrender. The prime minister, who has resisted calls for mediation and insists the conflict has reached a decisive final stage, on Sunday gave the TPLF 72 hours to surrender -- an ultimatum rejected by the dissident region's leader, who says hisThe UN Security Council will convene its first meeting Tuesday on Tigray, where forces loyal to the region's ruling party have been battling Ethiopian soldiers for nearly three weeks, sparking a refugee exodus, civilian deaths and fears of broader instability in the Horn of Africa.

Video caption: Ethiopia 's Tigray crisis : Thousands seek refuge on Sudan- Ethiopia borderEthiopia's Tigray crisis : Thousands seek refuge on Sudan- Ethiopia Mr Dujarric said. "He urges the leaders of Ethiopia to do everything possible to protect civilians, uphold human rights and ensure humanitarian

European Union officials are considering suspending budget support to Ethiopia because of the month-long conflict in the Horn of Africa nation’s Tigray EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič will fly to Ethiopia on Tuesday to urge Peace Minister Muferiat Kamil to end a blockade on

The European Union's crisis management commissioner Thursday urged the Ethiopian government to restore communications in its northern Tigray region and called on both sides to cease hostilities.

a group of people sitting in front of a crowd: The European Union's crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic (L) met with Ethiopian refugees during a visit to the Um Raquba reception camp in eastern Sudan © Yasuyoshi CHIBA The European Union's crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic (L) met with Ethiopian refugees during a visit to the Um Raquba reception camp in eastern Sudan

"I urge... the Ethiopian authorities to lift the communication blockade," Janez Lenarcic said at Um Raquba camp in neighbouring Sudan, where he spoke with Ethiopian refugees who had fled their homeland over the last month.

600 civilians were killed in massacre in Tigray, Ethiopia’s rights commission says

  600 civilians were killed in massacre in Tigray, Ethiopia’s rights commission says The report said a youth group, aided by the then-local administration, carried out the killings. The commission said at least 600 people were killed in the town of Mai Kadra in western Tigray on Nov. 9 when local youths known as Samri, aided by the then-local administration, went door to door killing those they identified as from the minority Amhara and Wolkait ethnic groups.

The UN has urged Ethiopian authorities to ensure the protection of civilians as the army plans to attack the capital of the northern region of Tigray . Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a 72-hour deadline for the region's fighters to surrender. The army warned Mekelle's 500,000 residents that soldiers

Ethiopia has so far rejected calls for talks over the crisis , seeing its operation as internal "law enforcement". The conflict is rooted in long-standing tension between powerful regional party the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopia 's central government. When Mr Abiy postponed a

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last month ordered military operations against the northern Ethiopian region's ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), in response to what he said were attacks on Ethiopian federal army camps.

Tens of thousands of refugees have since poured into eastern Sudan, with many complaining that they have not been able to re-establish contact with those left behind or lost on the scramble to leave due to a communications blackout.

"I spoke with a number of refugees in this camp today and what is perhaps most painful to hear is that they have zero information... about their relatives and friends who stayed behind," Lenarcic said.

Abiy on Saturday claimed the conflict was over after federal troops took control of the Tigrayan capital, Mekele, but the TPLF threatened a full-scale counter-offensive on Wednesday.

Lenarcic also urged Ethiopia's government to provide access for humanitarian workers and goods, while calling on both sides to "cease the hostilities".

Ethiopia has formally granted the United Nations access to deliver aid to Tigray, according to an agreement seen by AFP on Wednesday.

The agreement states that "the UN and humanitarian partners" can access "vulnerable populations in (government)-administered areas in Tigray".

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Why Ethiopia’s conflict could spill beyond its borders .
Civil wars rarely stay purely domestic affairs. Tensions have been brewing with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), once a dominant force in Ethiopia’s regime, since Abiy gained power. The conflict erupted soon after Abiy claimed that the TPLF crossed a “red line” when Tigrayans attacked a federal military base in early November. Fears of mass atrocities grew after Abiy’s 72-hour ultimatum for the TPLF’s surrender expired last week.

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