By Bileh Jelan @BilehJelan
Addis Abeba, July 30/2021 – The spokesperson of the United States State Department Ned Price in a series of tweets discussing the armed conflict in the Tigray regional state of Ethiopia, called for the implementation
“a ceasefire on an urgent basis without preconditions and enter into an inclusive political dialogue” as a way out of the crisis in Ethiopia.
“The parties to the conflict in Ethiopia should negotiate a ceasefire on an urgent basis without preconditions and enter into an inclusive political dialogue. Inflammatory rhetoric on either side is contrary to these goals,” The spokesperson said before concluding , “Negotiations — not military force — are the appropriate path for resolving the parties’ differences related to the conflict in Ethiopia. All parties must ensure unhindered humanitarian access. Electricity, telecommunications, and banking services must be restored in Tigray.”
The armed conflict that broke out on November 04 of last year, continued and culminated in the recapture of Mekelle by forces loyal to Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a group that has since been designated terrorist by the House of Peoples Representatives (HoPR). However, the remarks by the US State Department spokesperson come in the backdrop of the conflict spreading to both Afar and Amhara regional states after Tigrayan forces vowed to weaken the military capabilities of ‘its enemies’.
Meanwhile the Federal Government and leaders of Tigrayan forces exchanged blame over the blockage of aid into Tigray. With Getachew Reda the spokesperson of Tigrayan forces demanding among other new conditions for a ceasefire agreement, the establishment of multiple humanitarian corridors to ease the humanitarian crisis in the region.
The European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EU Commission, Josep Borrell on his part laid the responsibility of securing humanitarian corridors at the feet of the federal government and said, “Trucks carrying food supplies that could save countless lives in Tigray are being prevented from moving, apparently deliberately,” adding, “Increasingly hard to avoid the conclusion that access to food is used as a weapon of war. It is the Ethiopian Government’s responsibility to provide access.”
State Minister for Political Affairs at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Redwan Hussie defended the federal government position and accused the Vice President of the EU Commission of sabotaging the federal government efforts to help the people of Tigray. Ambassador Redwan said, “ The Government of Ethiopia ceased fire and pulled back weeks ago. Anyone with a modicum of desire,forget heartily altruism, to extricate our people in Tigray from the current predicament wouldn’t fail to recognize that. Stop disparaging the plaintiff and charming the culprit.”
Moreover, the armed conflict that spilled into Afar and Amhara region, is claiming more casualties, displacing tens of thousands of residents and threatens further escalations, the Afar regional communication bureau head Ahmed Koloyta told Addis Standard last week, “We have more than 75,000 displaced people. We are losing our elders, mothers and children in the war,” signaling a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region and a worsening IDP situation. The Amhara regional government released a statement disputing claims that TPLF secured any victories in the Amhara front and dismissed reports of fighting in Debraq and Woldia towns as ‘false propaganda’.
These recent developments coincide with an expected visit from the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power. The chief of USAID who won a Pulitzer prize for writing about genocide and is considered an expert, is expected to meet Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and discuss mainly the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Tigray. Reuters quoted an official 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.” AS