News: Battlefield provocations, bellicose rhetoric, lack of durable ceasefire threaten Ethiopia peace progress: US

Antony J. Blinken. Picture: US Embassy in Berlin

Addis Abeba – U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said the “recent provocations on the battlefield, bellicose rhetoric, and the lack of a durable ceasefire now threaten” five month old peace progress to end Ethiopia’s civil war. Secretary Blinken said the State Department was “concerned by reports of renewed hostilities in Ethiopia” and called on “the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to redouble efforts to advance talks to achieve a durable ceasefire without preconditions and ultimately bring a permanent end to the conflict.”

The statement from Secretary Blinken was released after reports of renewed military hostilities between federal and Tigrayan forces, the first such report after the 24 March announcement by the government of “a humanitarian truce“, which was later on reciprocated by the Tigrayan leadership in Mekelle. Secretary Blinken said the announcement had “reduced violence and cleared the way for delivery of humanitarian assistance in the Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions of Ethiopia.”

 “Respect for this truce over the past five months has saved countless lives and enabled assistance to reach tens of thousands,” the statement said, but cautioned that recent provocations on the battlefield, bellicose rhetoric, and the lack of a durable ceasefire now threaten this progress.  “They also delay the establishment of an inclusive political process to achieve progress towards common security and prosperity for all Ethiopians. A return to active conflict would result in widespread suffering, human rights abuses, and further economic hardships, while playing into the hands of those that seek to undermine Ethiopia’s peace and security.”

Furthermore, the U.S. said it noted the “establishment of a negotiating team” by the government and “its stated willingness to go to talks”  and asked for “all parties to respect the provision of food and fuel by humanitarian actors and refrain from militarizing humanitarian relief and to work towards restoration of basic services for those in need.” AS

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