Addis Ababa, August 30, 2022 (Walta) UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has confirmed in a leaked email that Secretary-General António Guterres spoke last week for a “short while” with Debretsion Gebremichael, chairman of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
Dujarric revealed the talk in an email dated August 25 sent to journalists who regularly cover UN news.
It is an unprecedented step for the head of the UN to negotiate directly with a terrorist organization, and the TPLF still is one on the lawbooks for the U.S. government and the Horn of Africa. Observers were quick to point out that the UN did not deal directly with ISIS, Al Shabaab, the IRA or Boko Haram.
A move like this on Gueterres’ part seemingly contradicts the spirit, if not the outright law of Article 51 of the UN Charter, which grants member states the right to defend themselves against terrorism and to call on neighbors and allies to assist them if necessary:
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”
It’s worth recalling Minister Pandor’s statement at a news conference recently with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which she said, “What will the world work is if we respect each other.”
In Thursday’s press briefing, Dujarric didn’t address the issue of the TPLF’s brazen theft of 12 fuel tankers and the assault or kidnapping of UN staff, as well as the issue of the rebels’ ongoing forced recruitment.