Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on peace and security in Africa
We have listened carefully to the statements on the latest developments of the situation in Northern Ethiopia delivered by Olusegun Obasanjo, the High Representative of the African Union for the Horn of Africa region, and Rosemary DiCarlo, USG for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. We also welcome the participation of Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the UN in today’s meeting.
Russia has watched with concern the recent developments in Ethiopian regions of Tigray, Afar and Amhara, where clashes between the government forces and units from the Tigray Defense Force, as well as their allied groups such as the Oromo Liberation Army, have been observed. Fighting around the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha last week clearly demonstrated that ongoing violence leads to more casualties and dire humanitarian consequences for civilians.
Of particular concern is the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the areas affected by the fighting. Hostilities in Dessie and Kombolcha, where a great number of refugees and IDPs had lived even before the conflict, led to an upsurge in refugees and IDPs. The number of civilians in need of humanitarian aid has already reached 7 million people due to the repeated attacks of the Tigray People's Liberation Front. Humanitarian aid to all regions of Ethiopia must be increased. We continue to insist that such aid must be provided in close coordination with the sovereign government and in strict compliance with the basic guiding principles of the UN.
As we have said previously, the divisions in Ethiopia run deep and have a complex historical context. Moreover, the situation in the country carries significant negative potential for the region as a whole. That is why we have been urging all stakeholders capable of influencing the situation, as well as the media, to take a responsible approach to avoid escalating the international rhetoric and fueling the already spiraling ethnic strife. We are convinced that adoption of illegal unilateral sanctions, threats of such sanctions or refusal to provide economic assistance are counterproductive and will only worsen the situation for the already-suffering ordinary people instead of bringing about reconciliation.
There is no alternative to supporting national and regional efforts aimed at ending the intra-Ethiopian military confrontations and advancing the dialogue to restore peace and gradually achieve social and economic stabilization in Ethiopia. At various points in their history, the Ethiopians have repeatedly demonstrated that they are capable of living in interethnic harmony and build their common state. The general election this year, held in peace and in line with democratic standards, reaffirmed this idea. High level of support for the government was demonstrated at recent mass demonstrations in Addis-Ababa.
We are aware of the various ongoing mediation efforts of the UN and the AU. Unfortunately, the situation on the ground shows that such efforts have not yet yielded any significant results. In this regard, Mr. Obasanjo, we hope that you, as an honest and impartial broker, will take the necessary urgent steps to reverse the momentum in the direction of peace. All the necessary signals from the UNSC were sent in the press statement adopted on November 5.
We also welcome the work carried out in the region by Martin Griffiths, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. We hope that these efforts will generate momentum for the work of humanitarian personnel on the ground, including in terms of providing uninterrupted humanitarian assistance.
In conclusion, we wish to reaffirm our commitment to preserving the unity and territorial integrity of friendly Ethiopia. We are convinced that there can be no other basis for resolving all of the contentious issues.
Thank you for your attention.