UN chief calls for 'unconditional and immediate' Ethiopian ceasefire

UN chief calls for 'unconditional and immediate' Ethiopian ceasefire

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for an "unconditional and immediate" ceasefire in Ethiopia, where government forces are battling rebels from the northern Tigray region.

Ethiopia tank
Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

"The peace process in Colombia inspires me to make an urgent appeal today to the protagonists of the conflict in Ethiopia for an unconditional and immediate ceasefire to save the country," Guterres said in Bogota during a visit to the South American country marking five years since a peace deal was signed.

International alarm has mounted over the escalating year-long conflict in Ethiopia, prompting foreign governments to tell their citizens to leave amid fears the Tigrayan rebels could march on the capital Addis Ababa.

Guterres said a ceasefire should "allow for an inter-Ethiopian dialogue to resolve the crisis and allow Ethiopia to contribute again to the stability of the region."

The fighting in the north of Africa's second most populous country has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions, according to UN estimates. 

Foreign envoys have been frantically pushing for a ceasefire, though there have been few signs a breakthrough is coming.

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