Italy shares international concern at the devastating conflict in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, and urges an "immediate" ceasefire, the withdrawal of Eritrean troops and unfettered humanitarian access to the famine-hit region.
During talks at the foreign ministry in Rome on Monday with an Ethiopian government delegation, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio underlined "Italy's worry over the situation in Tigray," said a statement.
Italy's concern "is shared by most of our international partners," the statement went on.
"We hope to see an immediate truce, the withdrawal of Eritrean troops and immediate and unrestricted humanitarian access to the region," the statement went on.
During the meeting, Di Maio called on Ethiopia for "full independence and transparency in its investigations into reported human rights violations," according to the statement.
Di Maio also conveyed the Italian government's "unease at frequent ethnic clashes throughout the country and said it hoped to see genuine and inclusive dialogue and a national reconciliation process ahead of upcoming elections," according to the statement.
Italy was among the first countries to airlift humanitarian supplies to Tigray in April and is ready to do so again, Di Maio told the delegation led by Ethiopia's interior minister Gedion Timothewos Hessebon.
The delegation handed to Di Maio a letter addressed to Italy's premier Mario Draghi from Ethiopia's premier and Nobel peace prize winner Abiy Ahmed. In November, Ahmed launched a military offensive to oust Tigray's then ruling party the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), after its capture of federal military bases there.
Thousands of people have died in the fighting in Tigray, 1.7 million have been uprooted from their homes and 350,000 people are facing famine, according to the United Nations. All sides in the conflict have been accused of numerous human rights abuses.
The Ethiopian delegation told Di Maio the government is "doing its utmost" to respond to the international community's concern over the crisis in Tigray, the statement concluded.