With reports of intensive fighting coming out of the war in the Northern part of Ethiopia, international calls for ceasefire push all sides to stop violence.
In a press conference held on October 21, 2021, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova said that Russia calls on all parties in Ethiopia engulfed in conflict to declare a ceasefire.
The spokeswoman noted that Russia is closely monitoring developments in Ethiopia; primarily, in the areas of Tigray, Afar, and Amhara, where clashes between Ethiopian government troops and Tigray People’s Liberation Front groups have recently become fierce.
“We are calling on all parties to the internal conflict in Ethiopia to exercise restraint and declare a ceasefire without preconditions,” she stated.
This is a dramatic shift from the Russian side which was advocating, along with China, for the international community to leave Ethiopia’s internal matters to be resolved internally.
The spokesperson indicated Russian support to efforts by the High Representative of the African Union to the Horn of Africa region, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Russia believes that Mr. Obasanjo will be guided by the principle “African solution to African problems”, and will throw his weight behind the efforts to normalize the humanitarian situation in the North of Ethiopia, she added.
In relation to the differences that have surfaced between the Government of Ethiopia and UN agencies, she indicated the Russian government hopes the situation will be settled without unnecessary attempts to politicize the process.
Likewise, the statement made on Thursday by the United Nations Deputy Spokesman, Farhan Haq, urged all parties to the conflict to de-escalate across Tigray, Amhara and Afar and to avoid further casualties and the suffering of civilians.
Furthermore, the statement from the spokesperson indicated that humanitarian needs are increasing in Amhara and Afar due to the spillover of the conflict in Tigray into these regions.
The 11-month old conflict in Northern Ethiopia has caused unaccounted economic and social crisis that displaced millions from Amhara, Afar, and Tigray regions, and created an unprecedented human catastrophe.
Since the start of the war in November, 2020, the international community had been expressing concerns about the potential risks of the conflict’s spillover to other parts of the region. Many parties including the US and the United Nations had been calling for ceasefire and negotiations.