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News: US calls for restoration of status quo ante, an end to military conflicts as top official arrives in Ethiopia

Before traveling to Ethiopia, USAID Administrator Samantha Power visited the Um Rakuba camp in Eastern Sudan which hosts thousands of refugees who escaped conflict in Tigray

By Bileh Jelan @BilehJelan 

Addis Abeba, August 04/2021 –  The US government has called for the restoration of the status quo ante and an end of the nine months military hostilities in order for aid to reach more than five million people in need of food assistance in Tigray regional state.  

The top US humanitarian chief soon after arriving made clear the intentions behind her visit. She said in a series of tweets, “If aid is to reach people in need in Tigray, then [all] parties must end hostilities. There is no military solution to this conflict,” while calling against for end of hostilities and emphasizing on the US position, “The US is calling on: The TPLF to withdraw its forces immediately from the Amhara and Afar regions, the Amhara regional government to withdraw its forces from western Tigray and the Eritrean government to withdraw its forces immediately and permanently from Ethiopia.” 

She also urged all parties to accelerate humanitarian access by ending the blockade. “All parties should accelerate unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict, and the commercial blockade of Tigray must end.” 

Earlier the US state department spokesperson Ned Price called on all parties to the conflict to end hostilities, open humanitarian corridors and guarantee unhindered access of aid to Tigray, “We are very concerned about the conflict in northern Ethiopia and its impact on the humanitarian relief efforts. We renew our calls on parties to the conflict to end hostilities and for the initiation of talks to reach a negotiated ceasefire.” 

These calls come in the backdrop of top officials at the federal government warning against attempts by the US to change the regime; it also comes in the backdrop of the federal government denying requests by international humanitarian aid providers to open a new corridor to the  West of Tigray via Sudan, arguing that the corridor Via Djibouti and Afar regional state were more than enough. 

It also comes with a fresh diplomatic push by President Joe Biden administration to resolve the conflict. Reuters quoted a statement that said, “Power will travel to Sudan and Ethiopia from Saturday to Wednesday in a fresh diplomatic push by President Joe Biden’s administration amid fears of ethnic cleansing in the region and hopes for negotiations between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces to resolve the conflict.” 

The planned visit was preceded by a similar one to Ethiopian refugees in Sudan.The statement by spokesperson Rebecca Chalif read, “On the third day of her trip to Sudan, Administrator Samantha Power traveled to Um Rakuba refugee camp in Gedaref State to meet with refugees from Ethiopia’s Tigray region, representatives of Sudanese communities hosting the refugees, and U.S. government humanitarian partners responding to the crisis. USAID is providing food assistance to nearly all of the more than 46,000 refugees who have fled to Sudan since the start of the conflict.” 

The Administrator spoke with representatives from the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees about the humanitarian assistance they are providing to Um Rakuba’s 21,000 refugees, according to the statement. “Sudanese living in areas near the camp described the impact of the refugee crisis on their communities, which, along with the Government of Sudan, have welcomed Ethiopians fleeing conflict, atrocities, and starvation. Administrator Power then toured food and cash distribution sites and heard directly from camp residents and frontline humanitarian workers. The Administrator sat with a group of women living at Um Rakuba and heard their stories, including accounts of horrific sexual violence at the hands of armed groups.” AS

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