Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has rejected what he calls international interference in resolving the current crisis in the country’s Tigray region.
Ahmed in a statement said the international community should “standby until the government of Ethiopia submits its request for assistance”.
UN Secretary General António Guterres is said to be “deeply concerned” about the situation in the Tigray region.
The UN chief also supports efforts by the African Union to de-escalate the situation, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Mr Guterres has also called for the protection of civilians ahead of a threat by the Ethiopian army to start an assault on the region’s capital, Mekelle.
“We’re following reports of the possible military action around Mekelle with great alarm. The Secretary General is very concerned about the impact that will have on civilian population, on our ability to deliver humanitarian aid in an area where it is almost impossible to do so.” Mr Dujarric said.
“He urges the leaders of Ethiopia to do everything possible to protect civilians, uphold human rights and ensure humanitarian access for the provision of much-needed assistance.”
But the Ethiopian prime minister said the country appreciates the concerns of the international community.
“I would, however, like to stress that Ethiopia is very much capable and willing to resolve this situation in accordance with its laws and its international obligations,” read a statement from his office.
Mr Abiy said the country “rejects any interference in our internal affairs” and asked the international community to “respect the fundamental principles of non-intervention under international law”.
Adherence to the Principle of Non-Intervention in Internal Affairs pic.twitter.com/WJueoVi3rR
— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) November 25, 2020
Fighting between Ethiopia’s central government and forces in Tigray has been going on for almost three weeks.
Hundreds have reportedly been killed and tens of thousands have fled.