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News: Tigray interim president criticizes US embassy diplomats’ visit to occupied southern Tigray

etachew Reda, Interim president of Tigray region, (Photo: Tigray Television)

Addis Abeba – Getachew Reda, President of Tigray regional state interim administration, said a visit by U.S Embassy diplomats in Addis Abeba to Alamata, a city that is part of the southern Tigray zone but is currently occupied by Amhara regional state forces and officials “amount[s] to sanctioning” the illegal occupation of Tigray’s territory.

“Whatever the objectives of their trip to Alamata & other parts of Tigray illegally occupied by Amhara forces, their decision to publicly socialize-gifts& all-with illegal authorities does amount”Whatever the objectives of their trip to Alamata & other parts of Tigray illegally occupied by Amhara forces, their decision to publicly socialize-gifts& all-with illegal authorities does amount to sanctioning a patently illegal occupation of Tigray territory by extremists hellbent on sabotaging our overtures for peace,” Getachew said.

The series of tweets sent out by Getachew came as reaction to a visit on Wednesday by a group US embassy diplomats to Alamata. The embassy has not publicized the purpose of the visit by the diplomats, but it coincided with a rally in Alamata city by members of the Amhara community asking for the administration of southern Tigray to relocate to North Wello zone of the Amhara region; they also chanted slogans that their identity as Amharas was not negotiable.

The visit by the US diplomats stirred an angry backlash from several Tigrayans online.

Earlier today, Hailu Kebede, Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs at Tigray based opposition Salsay Weyane Tigray (SaWeT), said that “any official visit to the area with the help of the Amhara occupiers who committed ethnic cleansing is unacceptable & dangerous.”

Recognizing the US Government’s “principled position” on the need for peaceful resolution to the two years war that ravaged the region, Getachew added “it is not entirely clear why seasoned diplomats would indulge in a garish display of apparent complicity in a poorly written drama orchestrated by illegal authorities in occupied Tigray territories.”

He further said the interim administration believes “such behavior flies full in the face of US commitment to Pretoria. It’s totally unacceptable.”

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In his first press briefing as president of the Tigray region interim administration, Getachew vowed in March this year that his administration’s primary objective was to protect territorial integrity and existence of Tigray for which the people of Tigray paid ultimate sacrifices. 

Nearly ten months after the Pretoria agreement, and despite the provision on the Nairobi Declaration of the Executive Plan on the concurrent withdrawal of foreign and non-ENDF forces from Tigray, Eritrean and Amhara forces continued occupying parts of north and north eastern Tigray as well as western Tigray and several parts of southern Tigray respectively.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said ethnic cleansing, human rights abuses and forcible expulsion of Tigrayans from Western Tigray persisted despite the November 02, 2022 peace agreement . The global rights group has urged the federal government to suspend, investigate, and appropriately prosecute commanders and officials implicated in serious rights abuses. AS

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