In an interview with a Washington D.C radio after concluding her trip to Ethiopia and Sudan, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power slammed the two warring parties in the ongoing Ethiopian war for their reluctance to settle their differences via dialogue.
In her interview with the National Public Radio (NPR), Power stated: “Well, the militarization of the conflict is getting worse by the day, by the hour in the day. You have the government not seeking to come to the peace table for an inclusive dialogue, but rather deploying forces. You see the rebels inside Tigray who want a victory in effectively defeating the Ethiopian government, the Eritrean forces and the militia, and got them out of large swaths of territory. But now those rebels are pushing out and trying to take territory that they traditionally have not occupied in Ethiopia. So I think that picture is clear.”
Regarding the role of the US in mediating the two sides, she recalled that the Biden administration has appointed Jeffery Feltman, a seasoned diplomat as a Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, and he has been trying to negotiate the warring parties.
“Feltman has been working relentlessly behind the scenes to try to bring the parties to the negotiating table. The parties each seem to believe that they can win this militarily. And the people who are getting caught in the crosshairs, of course, as always, are the civilians,” Samantha said emphasizing civilians are paying the utmost cost of the war.
“What are much more obscured are the conditions of desperate civilians inside Tigray because access has been so severely impeded,” Samantha highlighted while describing the situation in Tigray, adding, “When Ethiopian forces and officials left Tigray, bridges were burned. So it has become a kind of island where inside there – certainly there is not the violence and the atrocities that were occurring before these forces departed. But getting to the people inside has become almost impossible for humanitarians.”
Even though she was not able to travel to the Tigray region, she was able to meet Ethiopian refugees from the Tigrayan region in Sudan and she described her encounters with them as horrific.
“I have in my career had occasion to talk to a lot of survivors of mass atrocity and even unfortunately of sexual violence. And the prevalence of sexual violence as a feature of the mass atrocities being committed, the venom with which the perpetrators are seeking to ensure that Tigrayan women cannot have babies in the future. For many of them, it was eight, nine months ago that they came across the border. And as they relived what had been done to them, it was as if it was the day before. I mean, it was so real and just so harrowing,” Power said.