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US foreign policy

US threatens sanctions over crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray

Published: Updated:

US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman condemned the ‘unacceptable’ expansion of war in Ethiopia’s Tigray, adding that the US is prepared to pursue sanctions against all parties fueling the crisis.

Ethiopia has experienced heavy fighting for almost one year, which has impaired progress on an all-inclusive political dialogue between government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

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“Let me be clear: We oppose any [Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)] move to Addis [Ababa] or any TPLF move to besiege Addis,” Feltman said during a webinar with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

The TPLF dominated politics in the country for almost 30 years before Abiy Ahmed became the prime minister in 2018. An estimated 6 million people live in Tigray, and the TPLF, which Ahmed’s government says are terrorists, are demanding an end to the government blockade in the northern region.

In July, the UN’s acting under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator said 400,000 people had “crossed the threshold into famine.” Ramesh Rajasingham warned that another 1.8 million people were “on the brink of following them.”

Attempts by the US and Europe to mediate ceasefire have so far proven to be futile.

The State Department previously revealed that it was looking into whether or not the ongoing crisis in Tigray was considered to be genocide.

President Joe Biden has also signed an executive order, which would allow for US sanctions against those prolonging the fighting in Ethiopia.

Read more: Ethiopia government says Tigray forces killed 100 youths in Kombolcha town