US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged all parties to the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region to commit to an immediate, indefinite and negotiated ceasefire.
Blinken spoke by phone with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday, July 7. During the meeting, the crisis experienced by Ethiopia in Tigray and the policies of the central government in this context were discussed. According to US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, Blinken denounced the demolition of bridges to Tigray and other access impediments. The statement also noted that the US Secretary of State emphasized the urgency of conducting an inclusive political dialogue to begin the hard work of finding a lasting solution to the country’s ethnic and political divisions.
The US official further urged Abiy to commit to the steps outlined in the United Nations Security Council on July 2, including the complete withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from Tigray; the 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 the external borders of Ethiopia will be changed by force or in contravention of the constitution.
The conflict that started in Tigray last year, resulted in the Ethiopian government’s request for a ceasefire. In this context, the leaders of the war-torn Tigray region made a statement on Sunday, July 4, demanding the complete withdrawal of the “invading forces” and the establishment of their government and the recognition of their constitutional rights before starting talks with the federal government on a ceasefire. Also, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) stressed that they accepted the ceasefire “in principle” provided there were no further invasions.
The United Nations urged all parties to respect the ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to reach the civilian population as millions of people in Tigray are threatened by famine or facing life-threatening conditions.