Panafrican News Agency

Ethiopian crisis: US calls on all parties to commit to 'immediate, indefinite, negotiated ceasefire'

Washington, US (PANA) - The US on Tuesday called on all parties in the Ethiopian conflict to commit to an immediate, indefinite, negotiated ceasefire.

This is to end the violence, restore stability to the Tigray region, and create a context for an inclusive dialogue that preserves the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.

A statement issued by Ned Price, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, noted that the Government of Ethiopia on Monday announced a "unilateral humanitarian ceasefire" in the Tigray region with immediate effect.

The US said this could be "a positive step" if it results in changes on the ground to end the conflict, stop the atrocities, and allow unhindered humanitarian assistance.  

"We are closely monitoring developments.  We call on all parties to commit to an immediate, indefinite, negotiated ceasefire, so as to end the violence, restore stability to Tigray, and create a context for an inclusive dialogue that preserves the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ethiopian state."

The Ethiopian Government's unilateral ceasefire announcement comes as the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) said its forces had taken control of the regional capital, Mekelle, and were pushing south.

The US urged all parties to adhere strictly to international humanitarian law and commit to unhindered humanitarian access and independent mechanisms for accountability for human rights violations and abuses.  

It also called for the "immediate, verifiable withdrawal of all Eritrean forces from Ethiopian territory, a necessary step for an effective, sustainable ceasefire and in accordance with the Ethiopian government’s March commitment to do so".

The US said its paramount priority is addressing the dire humanitarian situation.  

It said it stands ready to work with the Ethiopian government, Tigrayan authorities, the United Nations, and other international partners to expedite the delivery of life-saving food assistance, including to the estimated 900,000 people likely already experiencing famine conditions.  

In this regard, it urged the Ethiopian authorities to immediately restore telecommunication services in Tigray and permit unhindered freedom of movement for and ensure the safety and security of humanitarian organization personnel.

The conflict in Tigray is the result of months of escalating tensions between the Ethiopian Government and TPLF, the dominant regional force.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 4 November 2020 ordered a military offensive after TPLF forces attacked a federal army base. 

Fighting has sparked massive displacement, widespread destruction of livelihoods and infrastructure, loss of employment and a huge humanitarian crisis.

The Ethiopian Government said its unilateral humanitarian ceasefire is to address the suffering of the people and with the conviction that it will help ensure better humanitarian access and strengthen the effort to rehabilitate and rebuild the Tigray region.

It said all Federal and Regional civil and military institutions have been ordered to implement the ceasefire in accordance with the directions set out by the Federal Government.

The Tigray Provisional Administration had requested the Federal Government to enact a humanitarian ceasefire in the region after due consideration of the needs on the ground and following the consultations with academics, business community and religious leaders and elders from the Region., the statement said.

Reports also say the US, Ireland and UK have called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting over the situation in Tigray.

The Ethiopian government said it understands that the people of Tigray, especially those in the rural areas, have suffered greatly. Battling desert locust, the COVID19 pandemics, the displacement and interruption of farming activities due to the criminal clique’s instigation of violent conflict have left many in the region exposed to untold suffering.

-0- PANA MA 30June2021