Panafrican News Agency

Ethiopian crisis: US reiterates need for immediate, negotiated ceasefire

Washington, DC, US (PANA) - Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has reiterated the need for all parties to the Ethiopian conflict to commit to an "immediate, indefinite, negotiated ceasefire". 

Speaking with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, on Tuesday, the US Secretary condemned the destruction of bridges into Tigray and other impediments to access. 

A statement by Ned Price, Spokesperson of the US State Department, said Mr. Blinken urged Prime Minister Abiy to commit to the steps outlined in the United Nations Security Council on 2 July, including the complete withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from Tigray.

The UN Security Council also called for full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access to populations in need; the establishment of a transparent process to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses and atrocities; and an affirmation that neither the internal nor external borders of Ethiopia will be changed by force or in contravention of the constitution. 

The statement said Mr. Blinken emphasised the urgency of holding an inclusive political dialogue "to begin the difficult work of forging a lasting resolution to the country’s ethnic and political divisions".

The conflict in Tigray is the result of months of escalating tensions between the Ethiopian Government and Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the dominant regional force.

Prime Minister Abiy 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 Federal government last week declared a "unilateral humanitarian ceasefire" in the Tigray region with immediate effect to address the suffering of the people.

This was as the TPLF captured the regional capital, Mekelle, and has been marching on since then.

The Federal government said it decided to declare the ceasefire with the conviction that it will help ensure better humanitarian access and strengthen the effort to rehabilitate and rebuild the Tigray region.

-0- PANA MA 7July2021