By Addis Standard Staff
Addis Abeba – In a statement it released last night, the European Union (EU) said said it regretted that “the two drone airstrikes that hit Mekelle”, the capital of Tigray regional state on 14 on 13 September “endanger, once again, the very fragile hope for peace in Ethiopia.”
EU’s statement came following two drone airstrikes on Wednesday 14 September morning in Mekelle city in an area called Dagim Amsal killing 10 civilians and injuring 14 more, according to Kibrom Gebreselassie, Chief Executive Director, Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, Associate Professor of Surgery, Cardiovascular and thoracic Surgeon at Mekelle University.
Similar airstrikes on Tuesday damaged the transmission lines of the local TV station, Dimtsi Weyane, according to the regional state affiliated broadcaster, which also said the damages forced it to discontinue its regular broadcasting and relocate to a temporary studio. Another airstrike inflicted damage to Mekelle University Adi-Haki Campus, the University said.
The federal government has not yet commented on both drone airstrikes.
The EU further cautioned that “the blockade of humanitarian aid since the renewed fighting adds to the already huge serious and costly toll on civilian life, economy and development of the country. The role of Eritrea continues to impede ongoing efforts towards peace in Ethiopia.”
On 03 September, the U.S. government condemned “Eritrea’s reentry” into Ethiopia’s renewed militarized hostilities Similarly, members of the U.N. appointed International Commission of Human Rights Experts said Eritrean troops were “engaged in hostilities,” and cautioned “the conflict risks spreading to other states.”
Along with the African Union (AU) and the U.S. government, the EU was among the first to recognize the announcement on Sunday 11 September by the Tigray regional state government of it stance that it was “prepared to participate in a robust peace process under the auspices of the Africa Union,” as well as its readiness “to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities in order to create a conducive atmosphere.”
The announcement “should have opened an opportunity to end hostilities, reach a negotiated permanent ceasefire agreement and engage in direct talks,” the EU said, adding “peace talks are the only way forward. No time should be lost in making the new Ethiopian year a peaceful one.”
The block said it encourages both the federal and Tigrayan authorities “to immediately seize this opportunity to end hostilities and reach a negotiated permanent ceasefire agreement”, and pledged, once again, its “support to the AU-led process and its readiness to actively engage in it, in coordination with international partners.” AS