Ethiopia unity, territorial integrity priority -UNSC

During its Friday meeting the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) chairman for July, France stresses the preservation of the unity and territorial integrity of Ethiopia is a priority.

At the conclusion of the meeting that focused on the situation in Tigray region of Ethiopia, the permanent representative of France, Mr. Nicolas de Riviere who chaired the meeting, issued the following statement. “I would like to stress four points. After eight months of conflict, the retaking of Mekelle by Tigray forces shows that there will be no military solution to the crisis.”

“The announcement of a cease-fire could be a major development if it is rapidly consolidated. We call upon all parties to act responsibly by expressing without delay their commitment to a permanent cessation of hostilities and all forms of violence against the population.”

“The Eritrean forces must immediately leave Ethiopian territory, in accordance with the request made by Ethiopian authorities last March. We take note of the information regarding the redeployment of these forces to the border, which must be quickly verified.”

“Secondly, the urgency is to ensure humanitarian access. As the situation in Tigray grows more alarming by the day, it is essential to address the immense needs and restore electricity, communications and banking services. We call for the lifting of all impediments, particularly by the reopening of Mekelle airport, the granting of long-term visas to humanitarian personnel, and the authorization of satellite communications. Vital infrastructures for the delivery of aid must be preserved.”

“France renews its condemnation of the deadly attacks on Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams. At least 12 humanitarian workers have lost their lives since the beginning of the conflict. These crimes must not go unpunished. The protection of humanitarian and medical personnel is an obligation that applies to all the parties.”

“The preservation of the unity and territorial integrity of Ethiopia is a priority, this is my third point. The launching of a national dialogue, including representatives of all parties and all regions, must contribute to this. We call on all political and military forces in Ethiopia to refrain from any action that could add to instability.”

“Reconciliation also requires the fight against impunity. It is imperative that the joint investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission into the serious human rights violations committed in Tigray continue. It is important that credible judicial proceedings be conducted in full transparency.”

“Finally, France is concerned at the impact of the crisis on regional stability. We call upon countries in the region to resolve their differences through dialogue and to respond constructively to the mediation efforts of the African Union,” he said.