EU urges Ethiopians to de-escalate

“The EU is monitoring the unfolding events in Ethiopia, in particular military action around Tigray, with deep concern”, – the European External Action Service (@eu_eeas) spokesperson stated, while reacting upon the reported military operations taking place in the north of Ethiopia on November 4, Wednesday.
All parties must act to reduce tension and de-escalate the situation. Failure to do so risks destabilising the country as well as the wider region. Building a national consensus through an inclusive national dialogue, comprising all the relevant political actors, is now more important than ever. This was the key message from High Representative Josep Borrell on Monday, November 2. The European Union is firmly committed to supporting reforms in Ethiopia initiated under Prime Minister Abyi’s government and reiterates that the only way to ensure the success of this endeavour is to uphold the rule of law while respecting human rights. This will also guarantee the possibility of free, fair and credible elections in 2021.”

Heavy fighting erupted in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region on Wednesday, November 4, diplomatic sources said, after the Prime minister Abiy Ahmed launched military operations in response to what he said was an “attack on federal troops”.

Prime Minister says he has ordered a military response to an “attack” by the ruling party of the Tigray region on a camp housing federal troops.

Tensions have been mounting since September, when Tigray held regional elections in defiance of the federal government, which assessed the vote “illegal”. In recent days, both parties accused each other of plotting a military conflict.

On November 4 early hours the local ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), tried to commit a theft of artillery and other equipment from federal forces stationed there, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said.

“The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation,” it said, adding that the aim was to prevent instability engulfing the country and region.

The prime minister’s spokesman Billene Seyoum confirmed that military operations in Tigray had commenced, without providing further detail. A number of diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa said heavy fighting, including artillery fire, had broken out in the northern region Tigray, which borders Eritrea.

Tigray’s local government said the Northern Command of the federal military, which is stationed in the region, had defected to its side, a statement which Billene described as “false information”.

The Prime minister’s office said the federal government had declared a six-month state of emergency in Tigray
to be overseen by the chief of staff of the armed force.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.

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