Thank you to the African member states and Ireland for leading the call to add this item to our agenda. This is indeed a time when a strong message from the Council is critical. And thank you to USG DiCarlo, and the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa for their briefings, and not least for the efforts by the AU.
The development of the crisis in Ethiopia is threatening the stability, and the very integrity of the country. It’s hitting the civilian population hard, and certainly the most vulnerable the hardest. As a close friend, and decades long partner to Ethiopia - and the Ethiopian people - Norway is deeply concerned. Both by the magnitude of the crisis, and its potential regional impact.
There can be no military solution. This should be evident to all parties. From the federal government, to the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front, and the Oromo Liberation Army.
Further escalation of fighting will not lead to victory; it will only inflict more unnecessary suffering on the Ethiopian people.
We are deeply concerned by reports of increased ethnic profiling, and discrimination. Ethnically charged statements inciting violence will only deepen divisions. Perhaps to irreversible levels. Divisive actions today, make peace more difficult tomorrow.
We urge Ethiopian leaders to already recognise the need for a future, inclusive-dialogue and reconciliation process.
All parties must exercise maximum restraint, and immediately work to de-escalate the conflict. We specifically call on the TDF, the TPLF, and forces from the Oromia Liberation Army not to attempt an attack on Addis Ababa.
We also urge the Government of Ethiopia to refrain from imposing any measures or restrictions upon civilians of specific ethnicities - including Tigray and Oromo.
Norway fully supports the AU peace initiative; and the mandate and efforts, of the AU High Representative for the horn of Africa. We call on all parties to fully cooperate with the High Representative; to immediately stop fighting; and make the necessary concessions for a negotiated cessation of hostilities.
The humanitarian situation is extremely dire. Hundreds of thousands in Tigray are facing famine-like conditions; and there is a serious risk of large-scale famine. At least two million persons are displaced in Tigray, and hundreds of thousands in Amhara and Afar.
Access to food, health care, and other basic services must be restored. And all possible modalities for this must be explored.
We call on all parties to immediately facilitate full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access.
We know that the suffering of the Ethiopian people also goes beyond the current humanitarian crisis.
Norway is appalled by the findings in the joint report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. While limited in time, and geographical scope, it outlines a pattern of the killing of civilians, and the widespread and systematic use of sexual and gender-based violence.
The obligations of all are made clear: incidents must be investigated, and perpetrators brought to justice.
All parties to the conflict must fully respect international human rights, and international humanitarian law- even in the most dire circumstances.
Every day that the fighting continues, and that the rhetoric grows, only makes a credible accountability process - and a viable transitional justice mechanism - more vital. These mechanisms will be of the utmost importance to future national reconciliation.
The people of Ethiopia, and indeed all people in the broader region, are dependent on the ability of the parties to urgently find a path to sustainable peace.
And we stand ready to assist.