US urges permanent end to conflict in Ethiopia amid renewed violence

By Anadolu Agency

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the opposing sides involved in the conflict in Ethiopia late Wednesday to work towards a permanent cease-fire amid renewed clashes in the East African country.

“Five months ago, a truce was declared in northern Ethiopia, which reduced violence and saved lives. We are concerned that renewed fighting puts that at risk. We call on the Ethiopian Government and TPLF to redouble efforts for peace to bring a permanent end to the conflict,” Blinken said on Twitter, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the party that controls Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply shocked and saddened” over the resumption of hostilities in Ethiopia.

His remarks came hours after both the Ethiopian government and Tigray rebels confirmed that a humanitarian truce had been broken following a military escalation.

The Ethiopian army and the forces of the TPLF traded blame as to which side violated the cease-fire that was reached in March in areas along the administrative border between Amhara and Tigray states.

The government has expressed readiness to engage in talks with the rebels in the past several months without any preconditions as long as they are held under the sole mediation of the African Union.

But the Tigray rebels rejected the African Union as a mediator, recommending that talks be held with Kenya’s outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta in that role.

Thousands of people, most of them civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since the conflict began in November 2020.

The UN has warned that Tigray “stands on the edge of a humanitarian disaster,” with more than 40% of the region’s estimated 6 million people in need of emergency assistance.

It also said that more than 5 million people were internally displaced in Afar and Amhara regional states where Tigrayan forces made military incursions a year ago, inflicting huge humanitarian and property damage.