US calls on Ethiopia to release all those detained under state of emergency

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The US on Thursday said it welcomed the decision by Ethiopia's Cabinet to approve the lifting of a six-month state of emergency and called on the government to release all those detained under the state of emergency.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that Washington hopes the House of Peoples' Representatives approves the decision to lift the state of emergency soon, after the Cabinet on Wednesday approved its lifting ahead of its expiration in light of changing security conditions in the country.

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Ethiopia declared the state of emergency in November after forces from the northern region of Tigray said they had gained territory and were considering marching on the capital Addis Ababa.

The Horn of Africa country has been gripped by war for more than a year, with the federal military and its allies battling forces loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the political party that controls Tigray.

For months there has been an uneasy stalemate between the two sides, punctuated by sporadic fighting. TPLF forces control most of Tigray but are surrounded by hostile forces from neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara which are allied with the federal military.

The conflict, which broke out in November 2020, has displaced millions and caused widespread hunger.

Price said that reports of renewed fighting in the Afar region are “very concerning.”

“We repeat our calls to all actors to cease all offensive operations, which also hinder that humanitarian access that we all know is so crucial,” Price said.

Read more:

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We are witnessing ‘hell’ in Tigray, it’s an ‘insult to humanity’: WHO’s Tedros

Ethiopia's Tigray rebels announce push into neighbouring Afar region