United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres has hailed the Ethiopian government’s decision to release several high-profile political detainees from prison, including key opposition figures.
In a statement released Friday, the UN chief called the move a “significant confidence-building step” on the road towards peace in Africa’s second-most populous country.
Guterres went on to call for the warring parties to go further by agreeing to a lasting ceasefire and beginning an inclusive process of national reconciliation.
The decision by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government to release the opposition figures came on the occasion of Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7 by Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia and in other countries around the world.
The conflict between Abiy’s government and the TPLF has raged since November of 2020 and has come at a dire humanitarian cost.
The UN estimates that hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions of the country face famine-like conditions and remain in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.