AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - "Peace, not war, has always been our choice": hope for a humanitarian truce

Friday, 25 March 2022

Mekelle (Agenzia Fides) - The Ethiopian government, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ali Ahmed, wants to take "extraordinary measures" "to save lives and reduce human suffering" and declares "an indefinite humanitarian ceasefire with immediate effect".
"This decision is made to ensure the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid to all those in need of assistance. The Government of Ethiopia hopes that this ceasefire will greatly improve the humanitarian situation on the ground and pave the way for a solution to the conflict in northern Ethiopia without further bloodshed". However, despite rumors of this "humanitarian truce", a school complex housing thousands of displaced people from the Tigray region in northwest Tigray was hit by an airstrike. At least 57 civilians were killed and more than 42 injured in the attack on the compound in the city of Dedebit, according to Human Rights Watch. "We were forced to enter a war for our own survival 17 months ago because all peaceful avenues for solving political problems were blocked and because a vicious military campaign was launched to eradicate the people of Tigray. In general, peace, not war, has always been our choice. Even at the moment, war is not our choice", stresses a statement by the Government of Tigray Region. "The people and the government of Tigray have always expressed their willingness to see the situation peacefully to resolve; over the past four years we have repeatedly conveyed this message to all parties concerned". "Our people should have received the humanitarian aid provided by the international community unhindered, but due to the blockade of humanitarian corridors, Tigray has received virtually no assistance. Restoring telecommunications and banking services, among other things, would have saved countless lives. However, should the right circumstances arise, in order for our people to receive humanitarian assistance at a level commensurate with local needs within a reasonable timeframe, the Tigray government will do everything in its power to achieve an immediate cessation of hostilities", they conclude from Mekelle .
"We call on the Ethiopian authorities to go beyond previous promises and take concrete steps to facilitate unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to the region". (GF/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 25/3/2022)