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NewsUS calls for Eritrea to cease fueling conflict in Ethiopia

US calls for Eritrea to cease fueling conflict in Ethiopia

It says there is no military solution to this conflict

The US Department of State called on “Eritrea and others to cease fueling” the conflict in Ethiopia and urged Eritrea to withdraw its forces from Ethiopian borders. The department accused Eritrea of increasing tensions throughout the Horn of Africa region.

The US also called on “both the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray regional authorities to halt immediately their military offensives and pursue a negotiated settlement through peace talks under the auspices of the African Union.”

At a press briefing on September 15, 2022, Ned Price, spokesperson of the US Department of State, stated that Ethiopia should look for a non-military solution to the conflict. 

“We are increasingly concerned by the growing military activity in northern Ethiopia. We strongly condemn the resumption of hostilities. There is no military solution to this conflict. These actions are inconsistent with the government of Ethiopia and Tigrayan regional authorities’ stated willingness to go to talks,” Price said.

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The US special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, who is in Ethiopia over the week and canceled his expected press brief on Friday, is also advancing a similar position to secure a peaceful resolution to the third wave of war that resumed in Ethiopia on August 24, 2022.

The special envoy is reportedly making efforts to bring warring parties to the table, while Olusegun Obasanjo, the designated AU official to broker peace in Ethiopia, has been silent since the third wave of war broke out.

The envoy is wrapping up two weeks in the Horn region.

“He remained actively engaged with the Government of Ethiopia, with the Tigray regional authorities, with the African Union, and with international partners to seek to advance an important effort to bring peace. He met on September 12 with the AU’s high representative, Obasanjo,” stated Price.

On September 16, 2022, the US embassy in Addis Ababa also stated that Hammer held productive meetings with Ethiopian government officials, civil society representatives, the African Union, and international partners.

Moussa Faki, the AUC chairperson, who extended Obasanjo’s mandate on September 10, 2022 to continue engaging with warring parties in Ethiopia, also met with Hammer on the next day. On the other hand, the UN Security Council, which was set to discuss the situation in Ethiopia, was postponed.

The five months of ceasefire and humanitarian assistance to Tigray were shattered when the third wave of war broke out on August 24, 2022. The ongoing peace initiative under the AU umbrella hit a deadlock, which the special envoy is trying to reactivate.

The Tigray regional government, which has been refuting AU-led peace negotiations prior to the latest war, also issued a statement on September 11, 2022, agreeing to negotiate under the AU umbrella.

Nonetheless, reaching a ceasefire agreement and resuming the peace talks remains farfetched, worsening the humanitarian crisis, as Eritrean forces are reportedly drawn into the war and regionalizing the conflict.

“These actions are worsening the humanitarian situation at a time of pronounced drought and food insecurity,” stated Price.

He called on the government of Ethiopia, Tigrayan authorities, and all parties to allow the unhindered delivery of humanitarian relief.

“Humanitarian assistance should not be used for military purposes—it should be used to save lives. And we urge the parties to cease the fighting and to begin talks under the auspices of the AU as soon as possible. Peace needs to be given a chance. Too many people have died, and too many more are suffering,” he added.

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