The White House on Friday threatened to impose sanctions on Ethiopia if the various warring factions in the country fail to embrace peace.
The threat came only hours after the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that it had designated four entities and two individuals associated with the Eritrean government and the ruling party for prolonging the devastating war in Ethiopia.
The sanctions were imposed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) following Executive Order (E.O.) 14046 which President Joseph R. Biden Jr. signed on September 17 authorizing sanctions to be imposed on those undermining peace in Ethiopia.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions were in response to the growing humanitarian and human rights crisis and expanding military conflict in Ethiopia.
At a White House press briefing in Washington, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked to provide an update on the situation in Ethiopia.
“Ethiopia seems to be on the brink of a civil war. The U.S. State Department is urging Americans to leave the country and even providing loan for those who cannot afford to leave Ethiopia now. The U.S., the EU, and the U.N. are urging Ethiopian leaders to embrace peace but we do not seem to be near any peace at the moment. Is there anything else the White House can do to avoid another Afghanistan-like exit?” Today News Africa‘s Simon Ateba asked Psaki.
Psaki referenced the sanctions on Eritrea announced earlier in the day and asserted that sanctions may also be taken against Ethiopian military officials and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) if they fail to embrace peace.
She said, “Well, I would first say — and you may or may not have seen this — but this morning, the Treasury and State Departments announced the designation of six targets associated with the Eritrean government in response to the growing humanitarian and human rights crisis and expanding military conflict in Ethiopia pursuant to the President’s executive order in September.
“And I know you’ve been asking when we would take some action pursuant to that executive order, and so we took some action this morning.
“I would also note that we are briefly delaying plans to roll out sanctions targeting elements aligned with the TPLF and Ethiopian military to allow time and space to see if these AU-led talks can make progress. If they do not seize the opportunity and the parties continue escalating the war, we will move forward with these sanctions. But we are currently leaving space for these talks to continue.”