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UN Chief: No Proof of Eritrean Troops Fighting in Ethiopia

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Thursday, 10 December 2020

Guterres

UN Chief: No Proof of Eritrean Troops Fighting in Ethiopia

UNITED NATIONS,(Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that there is no proof of Eritrean troops inside Ethiopia, where government forces are fighting rebels in the northernmost region of Tigray.

"We have no proof of the presence of Eritrean troops inside Ethiopia. I confronted the (Ethiopian) prime minister with that question, and he guaranteed to me that they have not entered the Tigrayan territory, that the only area where they are is the area that corresponded to the disputed territory between the two countries that in the peace agreement was decided to give back to Eritrea," Guterres told reporters.

"So this was the testimony that was given to me by the prime minister when I confronted him exactly with that question."

There are media reports saying that Eritrean troops have crossed into Ethiopia to help Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's military campaign against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

Since Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the TPLF, which rules Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray state. The federal government's operations followed the TPLF's attack on a command base of the Ethiopian Defense Force in Mekelle city, capital of Tigray.

The United Nations has information of sporadic fighting in different areas of Ethiopia. But it also has information that there was in the last few days a progressive increase of security and control, said Guterres. "But again, these are information that I am not in a position to fully confirm."

On humanitarian access to the Tigray region, Guterres said the United Nations and Ethiopia are in a second agreement.

"The only thing I can say is that, after the first agreement that was not possible to implement immediately, we have now a second agreement for joint assessment missions in relation to humanitarian needs between the UN and Ethiopia, to make sure that there is full access to the whole of the territory and full capacity to start humanitarian operations based on real needs and without any kind of discrimination," said Guterres.

A UN convoy was shot at by Ethiopian troops in Tigray on Sunday, triggering the alarm at the world body. The United Nations has not provided details of the incident.

"The UN has seen the reports of a UN convoy being shot at in Tigray province. These are alarming reports, and we are engaging at the highest level with the federal government to express our concerns and avoid any such incidents in the future," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, on Tuesday. Enditem

No proof of Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia: UN chief_china ...



Secretary-General’s remarks at press encounter with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, following the Fourth UN-AU Annual Conference

Question: Hi, Secretary‑General, Mr. President. Thank you for the briefing. Secretary‑General, I'd just like to follow up with you on Ethiopia, please. What can you tell us about what the United Nations knows about the fighting that is taking place there? What happens if the UN cannot get aid access?

And has the UN seen any evidence of Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia?

And just a quick follow‑up question, as well, on the vaccine. In some of the richer countries where the vaccine will be rolled out shortly and already is being rolled out, there are people who are a little nervous about taking it. What's your message to them? And will you take the vaccine when it's available to you? And would you do that publicly? Thank you.

Secretary-General: First of all, in relation to Ethiopia, we have no proof of the presence of Eritrean troops inside Ethiopia. I confronted the Prime Minister with that question, and he guaranteed to me that they have not entered Tigrayan territory, that the only area where they are is the area that corresponded to the disputed territory between the two countries that, in the peace agreement, was decided to give back to Eritrea. So, this was the testimony that was given to me by the Prime Minister when I confronted him exactly with that question.

We have information of sporadic fighting in different areas of the country, but we also have the information that there was in the last few days a progressive increase of security and control. But again, [this is] information that I am not in a position to fully confirm.

The only thing I can say is that after the first agreement that was not possible to implement immediately that we have now a second agreement for joint assessment missions in relation to humanitarian needs between the UN and Ethiopia to make sure that there is full access to the whole of the territory and full capacity to start humanitarian operations based on real needs and without any kind of discrimination.

In relation to the vaccines, of course, I intend to receive the vaccine when it becomes available for me in whatever the situation that will be justified for that. And, obviously, I will have no doubt in doing it publicly.

I encourage everybody that has access to the vaccine to be vaccinated, because it is a service, not only that we provide to ourselves, each one of us being vaccinated provides a service to the whole community, because we are no longer spreading... there is no risk of spreading the disease. So, vaccination is for me a moral obligation in relation to all of us.

Secretary-General's remarks at press encounter with the ...





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