US playing hardball with Ethiopia, rallies EU for more Addis sanctions

US playing hardball with Ethiopia, rallies EU for more Addis sanctions

Protesters during a massive rally in Addis Ababa last month to rail against US restrictions on economic and security assistance over the conflict in Tigray region. PHOTO | AFP

By ALLAN OLINGO

(Theeastafrican)—The United States has rallied its allies in the European Union for more sanctions against Ethiopia, including further funding cuts, over the Tigray conflict.

The Tigray conflict was on President Joe Biden’s agenda as he met his counterparts in the G7 meetings in the UK at the weekend.

Last Thursday, the EU, and Washington held a high-level meeting to discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in Tigray, calling on Addis to “stop increasing the restrictions in Tigray,” with the US pushing for further sanctions on Addis from the EU.

This came barely a week after US Special envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeff Feltman visited the region, and met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta over the Ethiopian crisis. On Tuesday, President Kenyatta travelled to Addis Ababa for a one-day visit, where he met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed but details of the meeting are scanty.

During the meeting, attended by Mr Feltman, the EU and US sought to mobilise bolder and concerted response by the international community to meet the growing humanitarian needs, ensure respect for human rights and prevent further atrocities against civilians in Tigray.

In the meeting, Mr Feltman said it is time to move from analysis to action.