By John Ikani
US President, Joe Biden on Friday signed a new Executive Order authorizing broad sanctions against those involved in perpetrating the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia, as reports of atrocities continue to emerge from the Tigray region.
Short Brief on Ethiopia’s Tigray war
A conflict between the Government of Ethiopia and forces in its northern Tigray region has thrown the country into turmoil.
Fighting has been going on since November 2020, destabilising the populous country in the Horn of Africa, leaving thousands of people dead, with 350,000 others living in famine conditions.
Eritrean soldiers are also fighting in Tigray for the Ethiopian government. All sides have been accused of atrocities.
A power struggle, an election and a push for political reform are among several factors that led to the crisis.
Biden reacts with Executive Order
“The ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia is a tragedy causing immense human suffering and threatens the unity of the Ethiopian state,” Biden said in a statement Friday.
“The United States is determined to push for a peaceful resolution of this conflict, and we will provide full support to those leading mediation efforts.
“I join leaders from across Africa and around the world in urging the parties to the conflict to halt their military campaigns respect human rights, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and come to the negotiating table without preconditions. Eritrean forces must withdraw from Ethiopia.
“A different path is possible but leaders must make the choice to pursue it,” the President said.
Biden also called on ‘all parties to the conflict in the northern Tigray region to negotiate ceasefire.
“There’s no military solution to the crisis,” he said in a statement, adding that the US was pressing for a ceasefire.
What you should know
The executive order reflects a growing sense of urgency on the situation in Tigray, where humanitarian access to deliver critically needed food, fuel and medicine has been largely cut off and hundreds of thousands face famine.
Although no individuals or entities were named in the executive order, it is the strongest warning yet from the US government against those committing rights abuses or blocking aid in Ethiopia.
The US imposed sanctions against the Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Defence Forces last month, for his involvement in the Tigray conflict.