UN chief urges Ethiopia combatants to observe Olympic Truce

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is making “the strongest possible appeal” to all combatants in Ethiopia to observe the Olympic Truce and halt hostilities

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 01 February 2022 20:08
United Nations-Secretary-General-Interview
United Nations-Secretary-General-Interview

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made “the strongest possible appeal” to all combatants in Ethiopia on Tuesday to observe the Olympic Truce and halt hostilities.

The U.N. chief told reporters that observing the truce can allow people in need throughout the country to receive humanitarian aid and can help pave the way for an inclusive dialogue involving all Ethiopians.

A resolution adopted by consensus by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in December urged all countries to observe the Olympic Truce “individually and collectively” from the week before the start of the 24th winter Olympic games in Beijing until the week after the Paralympics. The Olympics run from Feb. 4-20 followed by the Paralympics from March 4-13.

The assembly recalled the ancient Greek tradition of ekecheiria, calling for an “Olympic Truce,” to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage and participation of athletes in the games, “thereby mobilizing the youth of the world to the cause of peace.”

Guterres said “the people of Ethiopia continue to suffer greatly from ongoing conflict and bloodshed.”

Ethiopia’s war, which began in November 2020, has killed an estimated tens of thousands of people and displaced millions. The United States says some 900,000 people in northern Tigray, which has been under an Ethiopian government blockade since late June, face famine conditions.

The conflict entered a new phase in late December, when Tigray forces withdrew into the Tigray region after approaching the capital, Addis Ababa, but were being pushed back by a drone-supported military offensive. Guterres said on Jan. 19 he was delighted to hear “there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace” in Ethiopia after more than 14 months of war, but he gave no details.

“As I prepare to leave for the Winter Olympics," Guterres said, “I make the strongest possible appeal for all parties in Ethiopia for an immediate cessation of hostilities.”

He reiterated his appeal to all parties “to follow the finest tradition of the Olympic spirit to save lives, overcome differences and find the path to real peace.”

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