The United States government on Thursday said it is “concerned” about the developments in the Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia.
Matt Miller, from the office of the Spokesperson of the State Department, said the US Secretary of State had a discussion about “security challenges in the Horn of Africa and the shared goal of a unified, peaceful, and prosperous Ethiopia. ”
Secretary Blinken himself had tweeted about his conversation with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government launched a military campaign in the Amhara region of Ethiopia at least since April this year with the alleged move to “disarm the Fano” – a move that triggered widespread armed resistance in the region.
The government has mobilized the mechanized division of the army and the air force in addition to deploying a large number of infantry to the region.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in drone strikes in the region and due to artillery shelling.
The Amhara region has been under a state of emergency since early August 2023 and the internet has been shut down for at least five months now.
The government is also battling with a group that calls itself Oromo Liberation Army in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The group has been operating in the region since it entered Ethiopia, from its military base in Eritrea, in 2018 following an arrangement with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and is linked to the massacre of tens of thousands of ethnic Amhara civilians in the region.
State Department spokesperson said that “Secretary Blinken expressed concern about the situations in the Amhara and Oromia Regions and underscored the need to promote peaceful resolution through political dialogue and protection of human rights.”
The resumption of food assistance and the transitional justice process are also issues that Blinken discussed with Abiy Ahmed. Thousands of ethnic Amhara are reportedly arrested in Addis Ababa and Oromia regions. It is unclear if Mr. Bliken raised the issue during his conversation with Abiy Ahmed.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not remark about the conversation with the U.S. Secretary of State.
The United States had mobilized a sanction regime in addition to diplomatic efforts at the United Nations Security Council during the war between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Abiy Ahmed’s government.
There were accusations that the United States tacitly supported the TPLF and played a key role in the Pretoria agreement from which the TPLF emerged as a relevant political force in the country despite devastating military defeats. The U.S. has been denying that it supports the TPLF. It claims its interest is a “peaceful and prosperous “ Ethiopia. The U.S. government is believed to have reduced the Prosperity Party led Ethiopian government to a vassal state. U.S. diplomats have been extensively travelling in different regions of Ethiopia and meeting with regional presidents. Travel to the Tigray region was more frequent.
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