The United States Department of State announced on Saturday that Secretary Anthony Blinken had a phone conversation with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Matthew Miller, the spokesperson, in a brief statement, revealed that the conversation was about the resumption of food aid across Ethiopia. He said Blinken “commended reforms by the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners to help ensure aid reaches those experiencing acute food insecurity.”
“Consolidation of peace and importance of regional cooperation” in Northern Ethiopia is another topic that Mr. Blinken reportedly discussed with Abiy Ahmed. However, Miller did not elaborate on the context of this regional cooperation or whether it involved all regions. The United States played an active role in the Pretoria Agreement, although the African Union was running the show. Following the Pretoria Agreement, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Abiy Ahmed’s administration moved toward a political alliance. Subsequently, Abiy Ahmed initiated conflict in the Amhara region under the guise of “disarming illegal groups.” This conflict continues in many parts of the region. The United Nations Human Rights expressed concern this week, stating it is “troubled by the devastating impact of drone strikes.”
The State Department spokesperson stated that Blinken “expressed concern about ongoing violence in Amhara, Oromia, and elsewhere in Ethiopia and stressed the importance of dialogue and negotiation to resolve conflict.”
The Amhara region of Ethiopia has been under a state of emergency since August of this year. Frustrated with the losses from the battle with the Fano forces (volunteers in the Amhara region who fought alongside the Ethiopian Defense Force during the war between Abiy Ahmed’s government and the TPLF), Abiy Ahmed resorted to intensive artillery shelling and drone strikes. Hundreds of civilians are reported dead, as confirmed by the United Nations Human Rights and local human rights organizations. Apart from impacting civilians, the conflict made social and economic activities’ impossible in many parts of the region. Schools and universities did not open this year. UNICEF estimated this year that more than seven million children did not return to school this year.
There is reported conflict in the Oromia region of Ethiopia between government forces and the radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist organization calling itself the “Oromo Liberation Army.” This week, the government claimed success in its military operation in the region, which made headlines in state-owned media outlets. Meanwhile, both the armed group and the government have been holding peace talks in Tanzania, although the mediator remains unclear.
During a recent televised appearance in the Ethiopian Parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated that there will be no negotiation with forces combining “Pen and Clash [klashinkov].” Furthermore, he expressed determination to pause all development projects and redirect resources to the war effort [ i n the Amhara region]. Parliamentarians, over 97 percent of them are from the ruling party, did not challenge him over his stated determination to redirect resources to the war in the Amhara region.
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