News: US, EU envision joint effort to support peaceful resolution of conflicts in Amhara and Oromia regions

Addis Abeba – The US and European Union (EU) are exploring possibilities to cooperate on supporting the peaceful resolution of conflicts in Amhara and Oromia regions in Ethiopia.

According to a press release by the US State Department, the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, during his travel to Europe this week will discuss with EU officials “how the US and EU can support a peaceful resolution to ongoing violence in Amhara and Oromia regions through dialogue, and the need to protect civilians”. 

Mike Hammer and EU officials will also discuss, in Brussels, common efforts to support the full implementation of the peace agreement signed to end the Tigray war, and to advance peace, justice, and accountability for the benefit of all Ethiopians, the press release stated.

In his engagements with the EU officials, the ambassador will further discuss regional and international efforts to address the Sudan crisis and also mobilize support for regional humanitarian needs.

Before traveling to Brussels, the Ambassador Hammer will participate in World Water Week, hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute, and a roundtable discussion hosted by the Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute (SIPIRI) in Sweden, where he will discuss, as primary US interlocutor on issues related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) “how agreements related to water management, use, and access can contribute to security and stability in the Horn of Africa.

On 11 August, the governments of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States said, in a joint statement, they are concerned about the recent violence in the Amhara and Oromia regions, “which has resulted in civilian deaths and instability.”

Following months of militarized engagements between the non-state Fano militia and government forces and subsequent to a letter issued on 03 August by the president of Amhara regional state, Yelikal Kefale requesting the federal government to intervene, a state of emergency has been declared in Amhara region in order to control the deteriorating security crisis in the region.

Last week, the Command Post established to oversee the six-months state of emergency in the region said normalcy is gradually being restored in most parts of the region, following the second phase of its operations nearing completion. Earlier, the command post said it has successfully finalized the first phase of its operation which was “to liberate” the cities and towns that were held by the Fano armed group and restore peace and order in the region.

Although it is overshadowed by the recent fighting in the Amhara region, the five-year conflict in the Oromia regional state involving government forces and the armed Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is still ongoing with no prospect for peaceful resolution.

Recent attempts to reach at a negotiated settlement through talks held in Zanzibar, Tanzania, ended without a concert outcome. Calls for peaceful resolution of the conflict, including from lawmakers representing Oromia regional state and the US government have so far yielded no result. AS

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