(VOA Editorials) — The United States has deepening concerns over threats to the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Key among those threats is the ongoing crisis in the nation’s Tigray region.
The United States has deepening concerns over threats to the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Key among those threats is the ongoing crisis in the nation’s Tigray region.
People in Tigray continue to suffer serious human rights abuses and over one million are food insecure. At the same time urgently needed humanitarian relief is being blocked by the Ethiopian and Eritrean militaries as well as other armed actors.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the killings, forced removals, systemic sexual violence, and other human rights violations and abuses,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement. “We are equally appalled by the destruction of civilian property including water sources, hospitals, and medical facilities, taking place in Tigray.” The U.S. calls on the Ethiopian government to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations, to protect civilians, and to ensure unhindered humanitarian access.
“Despite significant diplomatic engagement,” said Secretary Blinken, “the parties to the conflict in Tigray have taken no meaningful steps to end hostilities or pursue a peaceful resolution of the political crisis.”
Secretary Blinken called on the Eritrean government to immediately return its troops to internationally recognized Eritrean territory. Unless hostilities cease, permitting expanded humanitarian access, the current food shortage could lead to famine.
In light of the dire situation inside Ethiopia, Secretary Blinken announced restrictions on the issuance of visas for any current or former Ethiopian or Eritrean government officials, members of the security forces, or other individuals including Amhara regional and irregular forces and members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, responsible for, or complicit in, undermining resolution of the crisis in Tigray. Those who have committed abuses against people in Tigray, as well as those who have hindered the delivery of humanitarian assistance are also subject to these restrictions. Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.
Secretary Blinken called on other governments to join the U.S. in taking these actions.
In addition, the U.S. has imposed wide-ranging limits on economic and security assistance to Ethiopia. “We will continue humanitarian assistance and certain other critical aid to Ethiopia,” explained Secretary Blinken. Existing broad restrictions on assistance to Eritrea will remain.
The United States is committed to supporting efforts to resolve the crisis in Tigray and help Ethiopians advance reconciliation and dialogue.