US presidential envoy arrives in Ethiopia.
A delegation led by Senator Chris Coons, a US presidential envoy arrived in Ethiopia yesterday. His trip comes after months of fighting in Tigray following Ethiopia’s military campaign to oust the former regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, in a conflict marked by widespread allegations of ethnic cleansing, sexual violence, and massacres of civilians.
This is the highest USA delegation that visited Ethiopia since Biden became president, and the USA delegation has so far met with Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister.
Ethiopian media reported that the meeting focused on the Tigray insurgency, the Sudan-Ethiopia border conflict, and the Nile Dam. Ethiopia’s government explained to the US delegation how the Tigray war began and the aftermath of the conflict. The government noted that the operation was aimed at maintaining law and order in the country.
The envoy is expected to convey a direct message from President Biden’s concerns with the “deteriorating situation in the Tigray, which threatens the peace and stability of the Horn of Africa region.” The United States has repeatedly called for an end to hostilities and the withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from the region.
Ethiopia told the US delegation that it did not accept any interference in the region, but reiterated that it would facilitate the UN’s investigation into the alleged abuses in collaboration with the Ethiopian human rights body. Abiy Ahmed’s government, meanwhile, has said it supports the African Union’s tripartite talks. Egypt and Sudan have recently called for a different mediation in the dam dispute.
Dina Mufti, who attended the meeting, told the media that Ethiopia had the opportunity to provide the United States with factual information on the situation in the Tigrean region and the Sudanese aggression.
State media reported that Chris Coons urged Ethiopia to step up relief efforts. The United States has donated $ 52 million to Ethiopia to help those affected by the conflict.
The US delegation is scheduled to meet with Abiy Ahmed in the coming hours. The senator will announce the outcome of his meeting at the end of his meetings with Ethiopia’s PM and African Union leader
U.S. officials and regional experts warn that if left unchecked, the conflict in Ethiopia could spiral into a full-blown regional crisis and cause knock-on destabilizing effects in Ethiopia’s neighboring countries. Human-rights groups accused forces from neighboring Eritrea of systematically massacring hundreds of unarmed civilians in Tigray in November, shortly after the outbreak of the conflict.