UK govt asks its nationals to leave Ethiopia now!

A UN spokesperson said the UN had submitted a request to Ethiopia's foreign ministry to immediately release those detained in Addis Ababa. (IMAGE: Courtesy | theKR Media) ADDIS

The FCDO is urging British nationals to leave Ethiopia immediately in light of the deteriorating conflict

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has urged British Nationals to leave Ethiopia now while commercial flights continue to operate.

Minister for Africa Vicky Ford said:

“The conflict in Ethiopia is deteriorating quickly. In the coming days we may see the fighting move closer to Addis Ababa, which could severely limit options for British Nationals to leave Ethiopia.

“I am urging all British Nationals – whatever their circumstance – to leave immediately, while commercial flights are readily available and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport remains open. Interest free loans are available to help British Nationals to return to the UK who may otherwise struggle to afford flights.”

“Those who choose not to leave now should make preparations to shelter in a place of safety over the coming weeks. We cannot guarantee there will be options to leave Ethiopia in the future.”

FCDO Travel Advice for Ethiopia has advised British nationals to leave the country since 9 November due to the worsening conflict.

To support those wishing to leave, the UK has made available interest-free loans to those who would otherwise be unable to afford commercial flights back to the UK, and has temporarily suspended the requirement for unvaccinated travellers to take a COVID-19 test pre-arrival in the UK.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate end to the fighting in Ethiopia, as the United States warned there was “no military solution” to the African nation’s civil war.

The calls came as Ethiopian media reported that Abiy Ahmed, the country’s prime minister and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was at the front “giving leadership from the battlefield” amid an escalating year-long crisis. High-profile Ethiopian athletes, including Olympic gold medallist and national hero Haile Gebrselassie, parliamentarians, party and regional leaders have also pledged to join Ethiopian forces battling rebels from the northernmost Tigray region, with men in Addis Ababa also joining up.

Speaking in Colombia, Guterres called for an “unconditional and immediate ceasefire”.

The war broke out in November 2020 in the country’s Tigray region between Ethiopian federal troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). In July, the conflict spread into two neighbouring regions in northern Ethiopia, and the rebels have been advancing towards Addis Ababa, the capital.

Haile, now 48 and retired, said he felt compelled to join up because Ethiopia’s existence was under threat.

“What would you do when the existence of a country is at stake? You just put down everything,” he told the Reuters news agency. “Alas, nothing will bind you. I am sorry!”

“There is no military solution to the conflict in Ethiopia,” a spokesperson from the US State Department said in a statement, stressing that diplomacy was the “first, last, and only option”.

The statement added that all parties should “refrain from inflammatory and bellicose rhetoric, to use restraint, respect human rights, allow humanitarian access, and protect civilians”.

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