Panafrican News Agency

Ethiopian Crisis; Ethiopians march against 'foreign interference' in the country's internal affairs

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Thousands of Ethiopians held a demonstration in Addis Ababa on Sunday against foreign interference in the internal affairs of the country.

The demonstration, organised by Addis Ababayouth, was also to support the filling of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, whose construction is opposed by Egypt and Sudan who say it will affect their own dams and their share of the Nile.

The state-owned Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) said the demonstrators also called for the US Government to review recent sanctions imposed on Ethiopia saying it did not consider the "objective realities" in the country.

ENA said the deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa, Adanech Abebie, commended participants of the demonstration for being the voice for the respect of sovereignty and dignity of Ethiopia.

Adanech said Ethiopia will not be ceded to external aggressors and internal anti-peace elements, adding that the nation will uphold its sovereignty and independence.

ENA quoted one of the demonstrators, Asres Tefera, as saying that she condemned meddling of foreign powers in Ethiopia’s internal matters.   

“Today I came to denounce the foreign interference in the internal affairs of our country and stand for honour and love with my country,” she said.

“We want to express our voice to the U.S. administration to reverse its decision. We Ethiopians want to have strong diplomacy with all people of the world, especially with the US. The current U.S. administration should reconsider its stands on Ethiopia,” 

The US last week announced a series of actions against Ethiopian, Eritrean and Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) officials who it has identified as undermining the resolution of the Tigray crisis in northern Ethiopia.

In an official statement dated 23 May, 2021, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said despite diplomatic efforts to end killings, and other human rights violations and abuses, the parties to the conflict have taken no meaningful step to end the crisis.

He announced a visa restriction policy on the issuance of visas for any current or former Ethiopian or Eritrean government officials, members of the security forces, or other individuals—to include Amhara regional and irregular forces and members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)—responsible for, or complicit in, undermining resolution of the crisis in Tigray."

Mr. Blinken said this includes those who have conducted wrongful violence or other abuses against people in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, as well as those who have hindered access of humanitarian assistance to those in the region.

Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions, he said.

US President Joe Biden also last expressed deep concern at the escalating violence and the hardening of regional and ethnic divisions in multiple parts of Ethiopia and called for a ceasefire.

"Belligerents in the Tigray region should declare and adhere to a ceasefire, and Eritrean and Amhara forces should withdraw," he said in a statement released by the White House on Wednesday. 

"Families of every background and ethnic heritage deserve to live in peace and security in their country. Political wounds cannot be healed through force of arms," he said.

The Ethiopian crisis started on 4 November2020 when the government in Addis Ababa said the government in Tigray region, led by TPLF "treasonously attacked" the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defence Force "in a foiled plan to seize power by destabilising the nation".

The Ethiopian government said this drew the federal government into a military engagement it had been provoked into.

-0- PANA MA 30May2021