BOGOTA (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an end to fighting in Ethiopia while in Colombia’s capital Bogota on Wednesday, urging Ethiopian leaders to follow the Andean country’s example of peace.
Guterres, who was visiting Colombia to mark the five-year anniversary of the peace deal between the government and the demobilized leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, called for an immediate end to hostilities.
“The peace process in Colombia today inspires me to make an urgent call to the protagonists of the conflict in Ethiopia for an unconditional and immediate ceasefire,” Guterres said during a joint address with Colombia’s President Ivan Duque.
War in Ethiopia broke out in November 2020 in the country’s Tigray region between Ethiopian federal troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. In July, the conflict spread into two neighboring regions in northern Ethiopia.
Ending fighting in Ethiopia would allow a dialogue to take place between Ethiopians, Guterres said, permitting the country to once again contribute to the stability of the region.
“I would very much like Colombia to be the example followed by the leaders in Ethiopia,” Guterres added.
Guterres also urged Colombian lawmakers to ratify the ratify Escazu Accord, an agreement among Latin American and Caribbean countries that enshrines protections for those working on environmental causes.
According to advocacy group Global Witness, Colombia is the most dangerous country for environmental defenders in the world, with a record 65 killed in 2020.
Colombia’s government has blamed crime gangs and leftist rebels involved in drug trafficking for the rise in activist killings.
(Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Chris Reese and Sam Holmes)