As the Ethiopian civil war escalates, Germany and France have become the latest countries to advise their citizens to leave Ethiopia.
The United States and the United Kingdom have recently issued warnings, and the United Nations has also begun what it says is the temporary relocation of some of its staff.
This is because the rebellious Tigray fighters said they were still advancing towards the capital Addis Ababa.
Prime Minister Abi Ahmed said he will go to the front lines to fight the rebels.
The year-long conflict has led to a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people facing famine-like conditions in northern Ethiopia.
Thousands were killed and millions were forced to leave their homes.
US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman said that progress is being made in the diplomatic solution, but this is being threatened by the escalating situation on the ground.
He said that both sides seemed to believe that they were on the verge of military victory.
Mr. Feltman warned that if the rebels moved to Addis Ababa, it would be unacceptable and catastrophic.
The report from the front is difficult to verify, but the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) stated that its fighters control a town just over 200 kilometers from Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian government previously denied reports of rebels marching.
‘Let’s meet in front’
The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that its nationals should leave on the first available commercial flights, while France urged its citizens to leave the country “without delay.”
At the same time, a UN internal security document stated that “qualified family members of internationally recruited staff” should be evacuated before November 25.
Earlier, the United States and Britain announced the withdrawal of non-essential diplomats and asked other citizens to leave.
In a social media post on Monday night, Abi Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, stated that he would go to the front to lead the National Defense Forces.
“Those who want to be Ethiopian children, they will be welcomed by history and stand up for your country today. Let us meet on the front lines,” he said.
His Nobel Prize was won after ending the tense situation that had lasted for nearly two decades after the war with Eritrea.
TPLF rejected the statement made by Mr. Abiy and his spokesperson Getachew Reda, saying “Our troops will not relax their efforts to bring [Mr Abiy’s] Strangle our people to the end”.
The African Union is taking the lead in efforts to end the fighting through negotiations, but neither party has committed to negotiations.
The root of the war was the disagreement between Prime Minister Abbey and TPLF. TPLF ruled the country for nearly 27 years, not just Tigray.
Mr. Abi came to power in 2018. In the whirlwind of reform, he let go of politics, reconciled with his old enemy Eritrea, and TPLF was marginalized.
Twelve months ago, war broke out in the long-simmering dispute between TPLF and Mr. Abiy, when Tigrayan forces were accused of attacking military bases to steal weapons, and the federal government responded.
More information about the Tigray crisis: