Pope Francis has appealed to Ethiopian authorities to choose the path of peace – days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched military offensive on secessionist region.
Pope Francis said he is following with concern the news regarding an escalation of violence in Ethiopia and appealed to authorities there to “reject the temptation of armed conflict.”
Speaking after the recitation of the Angelus Prayer, the Pope invited all Ethiopians “to prayer and to the fraternal respect for dialogue and the peaceful resolution of discord.”
The Pope’s appeal comes as the United Nations warned that nine million people risk displacement from the escalating conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
UN observers on Sunday also said the government’s declaration of a state of emergency was blocking food and other aid.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is pressing ahead with a military campaign he announced on Wednesday, despite international pleas to pursue dialogue with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rather than risk civil war.
Tigrayans dominated Ethiopian politics for decades until Abiy took office in 2018 and are reportedly fighting his efforts to remove their grip on power.