US warns of sanctions against violators of Ethiopia ceasefire

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A senior State Department official said Tuesday that the US was prepared to issue more sanctions against violators of recent ceasefire agreements in Ethiopia but said the current peace deal was “promising.”

The Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces signed a ceasefire on Nov. 2 after numerous rounds of peace talks hosted by the African Union.

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The US has been heavily involved in efforts to secure an end to the fighting, with President Joe Biden’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa being in the region for several weeks.

Addressing the peace agreements reached in Nairobi and Pretoria, the senior State Department official said it was still in the early days but said the US was hopeful. “It’s promising in terms of the follow-on action that we’re starting to see happening.”

The official pointed out the Nairobi Agreement, which he coined “significant” because it specifically addressed a commitment to the withdrawal of foreign forces. “It was the first acknowledgment… that there Eritrean forces operating inside of Ethiopia. And there’s now a clear understanding that they are to withdraw,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Asked about imposing more sanctions for those who did not respect the ceasefire, the official said Washington always had the prospect of sanctions at its disposal. “And we will not hesitate to deploy them if that should become necessary, in terms of holding actors accountable for human rights violations, or for the purposes of trying to ensure that this agreement is respected and abided.”

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