I met today with the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen to discuss the deeply concerning situation in the Tigray region. I made clear that there should be an immediate end to violence by both sides, civilians who remain in the region must be protected, and I expressed particular concern about the impact on civilians of the planned siege of Tigray’s capital, Mekelle.
The government needs to guarantee unhindered humanitarian access and the restoration of basic services in Tigray. All parties to this conflict need to want to find a political solution and accept regional offers of mediation, to avoid a looming humanitarian crisis and the spread of fighting and suffering to other countries in the region.
The UK has been a longstanding supporter of Ethiopia, which has established itself as a beacon of reform in Africa. This conflict is putting all of those reform efforts at risk.