Tuesday, November 23, France called on its nationals to leave Ethiopia, where fighting is approaching the capital after more than a year of war between government forces and rebels in the north of the country. « All French nationals are formally called upon to leave the country without delay », says the French Embassy in Addis Ababa in an email sent to members of the French community.
The embassy, which says it made this decision in view of « The evolution of the military situation », adds plan to facilitate the departure of nationals on commercial flights by reserving seats and, » if necessary « , to charter a charter flight. Before France, several countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, urged their citizens to leave the country. The latter also evacuated their non-essential personnel. An embassy official told AFP that departures « Volunteers » staff could take place, especially among families.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the federal army to Tigray in early November 2020 to remove the authorities in this region, from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who challenged his authority and whom he accused for attacking military bases. Nobel Peace Prize 2019, Mr. Abiy proclaimed victory three weeks later, after the capture of the regional capital, Makalé. But in June, pro-TPLF fighters took over most of the region and continued their offensive in neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.
At the end of October, the TPLF claimed responsibility for the capture of two key cities in Amhara, thus moving closer to Addis Ababa – which the Ethiopian government denied. The TPLF, which has allied with an Oromo rebel group active in the area around the capital, this week claimed to be in Shewa Robit, 220 km northeast of Addis Ababa. The government has not commented on this information. According to diplomats familiar with the security situation, some rebel fighters have reached the locality of Debre Sina, closer to about 30 km from the capital.
In recent weeks, diplomatic efforts by the international community have intensified in an attempt to secure a ceasefire agreement. The African Union (AU) envoy for the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and his American counterpart, Jeffrey Feltman, visited Ethiopia once again on Thursday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently warned of the risks of » implosion « Ethiopia if no political solution to the conflict is found.
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