US calls for ceasefire, resolution of Tigray conflict

Monday May 17 2021
Jeffrey Feltman.

US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman meets with Sudanese Foreign Minister Maryam al-Sadeq al-Mahdi in Khartoum on May 7, 2021. PHOTO | AFP


The United States said that it is committed to end what it said was a brutal conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, which has been ongoing for six months.

The US also said that it would work to secure a ceasefire between the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) and the Ethiopian army which is supported by Eritrean forces.

“The United States will work with our international allies and partners to secure a ceasefire, end this brutal conflict, provide the life-saving assistance that is so urgently needed, and hold those responsible for human rights abuses and violations accountable,” the State department said in a statement.

It issued the statement after US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, completed his first visit to the region travelling to Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt between May 4 and13, 2021.

The US said it was in its interest to see a sovereign and united Ethiopia, but expressed concern over increasing political tension and ethnic polarisation throughout the country.

“The atrocities being perpetrated in Ethiopia's Tigray region and the scale of the humanitarian emergency are unacceptable,” the statement added.


It said the crisis in Tigray is a sign of the challenges facing the country as a whole.

“The crisis in Tigray is also symptomatic of a broader set of national challenges that have imperilled meaningful reforms,” the statement added.

In a statement, Mr Feltman said he had held talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other officials, and that the country's problems could be resolved.

The statement said that the country can be built on a national consensus that respects the human and political rights of all Ethiopians, adding that the presence of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia is contrary to these goals.

During a meeting with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, Mr Feltman said Eritrean troops should immediately withdraw from Ethiopia.

The United States further pledged to work and support the resolution of regional crises, the establishment of a voice and accountability system, and the creation of a prosperous and stable Horn of Africa.

It also said that the United States would show solidarity with the transitional government in Sudan and work with international partners to ensure that the conflict on the Ethiopian-Sudanese border and the Renaissance Dam dispute do not jeopardise the post-revolutionary process.

It added that the political transition in Sudan is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that can serve as an example for the region.

“We are also committed to working with international partners to facilitate resolution of regional flash points — such as the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and conflict on Sudan’s borders — so they do not undermine the fragile progress made since the revolution,” the statement said.

While calling for the immediate resumption of the suspended tripartite talks, it said the United States will provide political and technical support so that Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt can reach a final agreement over a controversial dam Ethiopia is building on River Nile.

The special envoy will return to the region soon, to continue an intensive diplomatic effort over the issues in the region.