The Pope calls for peace talks in the conflict affecting Ethiopia

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VATICAN CITY: Pope francesco called on Sunday for more diplomatic efforts to end conflict in Ethiopia, while rebels fighting the government threatened to advance into the capital.
The pontiff said he was following the news from Ethiopia “with concern”, “shaken by a conflict that has lasted for more than a year, and which has caused numerous victims and a serious humanitarian crisis“.
“I renew my appeal that brotherly harmony and may the peaceful way of dialogue prevail ”, he told the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer.
Nine rebel groups said Friday they would join forces in an alliance built around the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which was locked in a year-long war with the Ethiopian government.
The conflict killed thousands of people and pushed many more into famine conditions.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2019, sent troops to Tigray in November last year to overthrow the TPLF, accusing it of attacking military bases.
The rebels have claimed several cities in recent weeks and have not ruled out marching on Addis Ababa.
The government, which has denied that the capital is threatened, has nevertheless declared a state of emergency and local authorities have asked residents to organize themselves to defend the city.
Last week the United States, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and other countries urged non-essential diplomats and their families to leave Ethiopia.

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