In a statement by the White House on Monday, it was said that US President Joe Biden raised concerns over Ethiopia’s continued airstrikes in the Tigray region during a telephone call with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The statement read that the US president “expressed concern that the ongoing hostilities, including recent air strikes, continue to cause civilian casualties and suffering.” Biden also reaffirmed the US’ commitment to work alongside the African Union and regional partners to help Ethiopians peacefully resolve the conflict.”
The statement added that the two leaders underscored the importance of bilateral ties, the potential to strengthen cooperation on a range of issues, and the need for concrete progress to resolve the Tigray conflict.”
Ethiopian forces and Tigrayan rebels have been in conflict since November 2020.
The conflict has also affected other areas of the country, forcing at least two million people from their homes and leaving civilians without access to critical humanitarian assistance.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), acute food insecurity is now affecting more than 9.4 million people in northern Ethiopia.
5.2 million people within the Tigray region, which roughly amounts to 90 percent of the population, need humanitarian aid.
Last week, the Ethiopian government released high-profile leaders of the TPLF, the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress and the newly formed Balderas party.
Biden lauded Abiy on the release of political leaders, and discussed “ways to accelerate dialogue toward a negotiated ceasefire, the urgency of improving humanitarian access across Ethiopia, and the need to address the human rights concerns of all affected Ethiopians, including concerns about detentions of Ethiopians under the state of emergency,” the White House stated.