Department Press Briefing – August 3, 2021 – Ethiopia Update

MR PRICE: We are very concerned about the worsening conflict in northern Ethiopia and its impact on humanitarian relief efforts. We renew our calls on parties to the conflict to end hostilities and for the initiation of talks to achieve a negotiated ceasefire. We call on the TPLF to withdraw its associated military forces immediately from the Amhara and Afar regions. At the same time, we renew our calls for the Amhara regional government to withdraw immediately its associated military forces from western Tigray and for the Eritrean Government to withdraw its military forces permanently from Ethiopia. All parties should accelerate unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict, and the commercial blockade of Tigray must end.

QUESTION: Thanks. Just semi-logistically, to start off on Ethiopia. You may or may not know that the embassy in Addis put out a – what used to be known as a warning notice, but an alert earlier today that appeared to suggest that you guys were considering kind of evacuation – I don’t know – flights or convoys or something from this area. Do – one, are you aware of this? And two, is that actually what is being considered? It told people that they should right now talk to the UN about if they want to leave and relocate, but I just want to know if – is this something that is being considered?

MR PRICE: Well, as you know, Matt —


MR PRICE: As you know, Matt, our posts around the world constantly update American citizens and, in turn, the broader public on the safety and security situations in any given country. That’s – our embassy in Addis is no different. I don’t have any actions to preview at this time, but the point we’ve been making for a number of weeks now – too many weeks now – is that we are gravely concerned by the ongoing violence in the Tigray region and other parts of northern Ethiopia. And we know that that fighting has more recently, as I just said, expanded into the Afar and Amhara regions. So as the safety and security conditions continue to evolve, our embassy in Addis will issue appropriate notices to the American citizen community there.

QUESTION: I’m aware of that. My – I was just asking if it was something – an evacuation flight —

MR PRICE: I’m not in a position to preview any coming operations.

Summary from today’s Ethiopia update – Aug 3, 2021

Source: FB – Muktar Ismail

  1. US state department issued a statement tonight saying ‘We are very concerned about worsening conflict in northern Ethiopia and its impact on humanitarian relief efforts. We renew our calls on all parties to the conflict to end hostilities and for the initiation of talks to achieve a negotiated ceasefire.”
  2. A senior UN official on Tuesday condemned as “dangerous” accusations by Ethiopian government officials that aid workers were biased in favor of TPLF and even arming TPLF rebel forces in war-hit Tigray.
  3. UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said at a press conference at the end of a six-day visit to Ethiopia, his first mission in his new role. “They are unfair, they are unconstructive, they need to be backed up by evidence if there is any and, frankly, it’s dangerous.”
  4. United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Tuesday 200,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Ethiopia’s Amhara region and 54,000 in its Afar region.
  5. Doctors Without Borders and the Norwegian Refugee Council said Ethiopia’s government had suspended their operations on July 30. A Doctors Without Borders spokeswoman said the operations of the charity’s Dutch section, its largest in Ethiopia, were suspended for three months in the Tigray, Amhara, Gambella, and Somali regions, and the group was “urgently seeking clarification from the authorities.”
  6. PM Abiy Ahmed has been seen wearing a military uniform in Afar front. This sends a message that Abiy‘s administration will likely scale up its fight against TPLF.
  7. There are speculations that Ethiopia has used combat drones in Afar and Amhara fronts, however, there is no evidence shown to prove these claims. It is worth to be remembered that during the initial phase of the war in the Tigray region, TPLF constantly accused the participation of UAE drones in the war; however, with these new speculations of ENDF now using drones, there is no official statement from TDF indicating the possibilities that drones have been used by ENDF.
  8. Military track with an antenna on top of it is intentionally circulated on social media which pro Abiy cadres say this is a Ground Control System (GCS) for combat drones, nonetheless, I am of the view that this is a satellite truck that is used for remote telecommunication transmission.
  9. Ethiopia, Djibouti railway link is restored after days of a blockade by protesters from the Somali region. The railway was resumed after federal and regional officials held discussions with communities in Somali and Afar. According to our source, both passenger and freight transport services have been restored.
  10. USAID Chief Samantha Power is arriving in Addis Ababa.

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