US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Thursday that the “warmongering rhetoric” of the government of Ethiopia and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) “feeds the flames of conflict” on social networks. , “are increasingly turning away from the peaceful solution.”
“Ethiopian leaders inside and outside the government and across the country face an urgent need to act immediately and alleviate the suffering of the Ethiopian people,” the head of US diplomacy said in a statement.
It also reiterated its “deep concern about the risk of inter-community violence”, fueled by the “heated language” of the parties, especially on digital platforms. In fact, Facebook recently removed a post from the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for violating guidelines on incitement to violence.
He also warns of reports of arbitrary arrests on ethnic grounds in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and of the humanitarian plight of millions of people, 900,000 of whom are at risk of “conflict-related famine”.
For this reason, he called on all parties to “lay down arms and open a dialogue in order to preserve the unity and integrity of the Ethiopian state”. “We call on the Ethiopian government to stop its military campaign, including air strikes on the population centers of (the region) Tigray and the mobilization of ethnic militias,” he said.
At the same time he called on the Eritrean government to withdraw its troops from Ethiopia and the TPLF and the rebel group of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) to “stop the current advance towards Addis Ababa immediately”.
“All parties must also enable and facilitate access to humanitarian aid so that vital aid can reach those in need,” he added, insisting that all parties “must start unconditional ceasefire negotiations in order to find a sustainable path to peace “.
United States Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman has traveled to the country to look into the situation and has meetings with Ethiopian officials such as the President of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki; Defense Minister Abraham Belay and Finance Minister Ahmed Shide and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, as the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ned Price, explained at a press conference.
Feltman will continue their meetings this Friday with the aim of
“Find an acceptable way to resolve the growing conflict in Ethiopia.”
On the other hand, given the worsening conflict and recent TPLF advances in the north of the country, the US government has approved the “voluntary departure” of non-essential personnel from its embassy in Ethiopia.
The government has declared a state of emergency and urged the population to face the TPLF after the group’s advances in Amhara and to confirm contacts with the rebel group OLA, which split off from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) after the peace treaty of 2018, which has also launched offensives in the Oromia region, which threaten an expansion of the conflict on a national level.
In this regard, a joint investigation by the United Nations and the Ethiopian Commission on Human Rights (EHRC) published on Wednesday provided “reasonable grounds” for believing that all parties to the conflict in Tigray have committed human rights violations on refugee law, some of which are war crimes and crimes against humanity could represent.
The conflict began on November 4, 2020 when, after months of tension between the TPLF and the central government over postponing the congresses, Abiy finally ordered a military offensive in retaliation for the attack on the army base in the capital Tigray, Mekelle, which took place in June and which took place in June Abiy achieved a landslide victory due to the uncertainty despite calls for boycotts and a lack of coordination in several areas – including Tigray.
However, the TPLF made important strides in June that enabled it to retake Mekelle, whereupon Abiy, citing humanitarian grounds, announced a unilateral ceasefire that was rejected by the group, which extended its offensive to the adjoining Amhara and Afar regions, which one The war spread to the rest of the country.
The conflict ended a year on Thursday in a situation that raised fears that the war would spread to the national level.