UN chief hopes Eritrean withdrawal accord leads to aid for victims of Tigray conflict

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UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hopes the accord calling for the withdrawal of Eritrean forces from embattled Tigray will aid victims of the conflict, a UN spokesman said on Friday.

The secretary-general welcomed Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki agreeing to pull back from the border area, said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres.

The secretary-general “expresses the hope that the announcement would be followed by tangible and speedy implementation on the ground to further facilitate the necessary assistance to civilians,” Haq said. “The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have agreed to conduct a joint investigation into the human rights violations and abuses allegedly committed by all parties in the context of the Tigray conflict.”

The secretary-general also welcomes the accord as part of a much-needed accountability process for the victims, the spokesman said.

While the two leaders reached the withdrawal agreement in the Eritrean capital of Asmara, the Ethiopian prime minister’s office issued a statement saying the Ethiopian National Defense Forces will take over guarding the Ethiopian border areas immediately.

Eritrean forces were first reported in Ethiopia’s northernmost region shortly after Ethiopia launched attacks in early November against Tigrayan rebels. From almost the start of hostilities, there were reports of atrocities committed by both sides.

The two countries established diplomatic relations in 2018, following a two-year border war which ended in 2000. Enditem

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