Addis Ababa, 25 November (efe-epa) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated on Wednesday that his country rejects any “interference” by external powers in its domestic affairs and asked the international community to “stand by” in regards to armed conflict in the northern region of Tigray.
“We respectfully urge the international community to refrain from any unwelcome and unlawful acts of interference,” the prime minister said in an official statement, just hours before the expiry of a 72-hour surrender ultimatum which he issued to the region.
Ahmed explained that while his country appreciates the concern of friends, the international community should “stand by until the government of Ethiopia submits its requests for assistance to the community of nations.”
On Tuesday, the UN expressed concern over possible war crimes during the attempted military takeover of Mekele, the capital of Tigray, and demanded that Ethiopian authorities do everything possible to protect its more than 400,000 residents.
The United Nations Security Council also addressed the situation in Tigray for the first time, with a closed-door discussion requested by European nations.
During the meeting, countries such as Germany and Belgium urged an end to hostilities, a diplomatic solution and access to humanitarian services to assist civilians.
Over 40,000 refugees have already crossed into eastern Sudan from Ethiopia during three weeks of armed conflict since Ahmed mobilised Ethiopian forces against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that governs the region, on 4 November.
Protests against the Ethiopian government have taken place in other countries such as South Africa, where demonstrators are calling for an end to the civil conflict.
According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, at least 600 civilians, from mainly Amhara and Wolkat ethnic groups, were killed on 9 November in an attack perpetrated by forces loyal to the TPLF in the Tigray town of Maikadra in a massacre that could constitute as a crime against humanity and a war crime.
Tigray, a region bordering Eritrea and Sudan, remains isolated and its telecommunications have been cut off since the beginning of the conflict, a retaliation for the alleged attack by the TPLF on an Ethiopian army base in the region at the beginning of November. EFE-EPA