Call comes with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed allegedly on the front lines and men flocking to join army.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, called for an immediate end to the fighting in Ethiopia, as the United States warned that there was “no military solution” to the African nation’s civil war.
The calls came when Ethiopian media reported that Abiy Ahmed, the country’s prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was at the forefront and “giving leadership off the battlefield” amid an escalating year-long crisis. High-profile Ethiopian athletes, including Olympic gold medalist and national hero Haile Gebrselassie, MPs, party and regional leaders have also vowed to join Ethiopian forces fighting rebels from the northernmost Tigray region, with men in Addis Ababa also joined.
Guterres spoke in Colombia and called for an “unconditional and immediate ceasefire”.
The war broke out in November 2020 in the country’s Tigray region between Ethiopian federal troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). In July, the conflict spread to two neighboring regions in northern Ethiopia, and the rebels marched on the capital, Addis Ababa.
Haile, now 48 and retired, said he felt compelled to join because Ethiopia’s existence was threatened.
“What would you do if the existence of a country was at stake? You just put everything down, “he told Reuters news agency. “Ai, nothing will bind you. I am sorry!”
“There is no military solution to the conflict in Ethiopia,” a State Department spokesman said in a statement, emphasizing that diplomacy is the “first, last and only option”.
The statement added that all parties “must refrain from provocative and belligerent rhetoric, to exercise self-control, to respect human rights, to allow humanitarian access and to protect civilians”.
Thousands have died since the conflict began with more than two million forced out of their homes and 400,000 people in Tigray facing starvation.
Washington’s remarks come a day after the US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa reported “emerging progress” towards a diplomatic settlement between the government and Tigrayan rebels, but warned that it was at risk of being blacked out. to be caused by “alarming developments” on the ground.
The envoy, Jeffrey Feltman, had just returned from Addis Ababa where he had made an attempt to bring about a ceasefire.
It was not clear exactly where Abiy was deployed, and state media did not broadcast images of him in the field.