December 1, 2022

Biden administration denies supporting Tigray People’s Liberation Front in Ethiopia: ‘We support the cause of peace’

Left to right:President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade with the Combatant Commander nominees U.S. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson on Monday, March 8, 2021, along the Colonnade of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) and U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price briefs reporters during a department press briefing, from the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on May 9, 2022. [State Department photo by Freddie Everett.
Left to right:President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade with the Combatant Commander nominees U.S. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson on Monday, March 8, 2021, along the Colonnade of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) and U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price briefs reporters during a department press briefing, from the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on May 9, 2022. [State Department photo by Freddie Everett.
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The Biden administration on Monday denied supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), asserting that it simply supports peace and the stability and security of the people of Ethiopia.

“We support the cause of peace. We support stability and security for the people of Ethiopia,” United States Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing in Washington D.C. when a reporter alleged that the United States was playing a double standard.

“When the Ethiopian military entered the Tigray region, the State Department repeatedly demanded that the Ethiopian Government withdraw its troops from the Tigray region. But when the TPLF forces entered Amhara and Afar region, the State Department – instead of demanding the TPLF to withdraw its forces from Amhara and Afar region, the State Department demanded that both parties need to find a peaceful solution. And once again most Ethiopians believe that the United States supports TPLF and ask why does the United States support TPLF. What is your response to the Ethiopian people who say that the United States supports TPLF?” the reporter asked.

Price said the United States’ message has been straightforward and simple. “Our message has been a simple one. We’ve called on the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray regional authorities to immediately halt their military offensives and to pursue a negotiated settlement through peace talks under the auspices of the African Union. We have worked very closely with the African Union, with other partners on the continent to engage in that process of diplomacy,” he said.

Price added, “We’ve also been very clear with Eritrea and Eritrean authorities that they must withdraw to their borders immediately and for Eritrea and others to cease fueling the conflict. We’re deeply concerned by the human rights abuses that this conflict has brought about. We know, again alluding to your question, the opportunity that – for the people of Ethiopia that would come with and for a while that did come with a negotiated truce and a negotiated ceasefire are tremendous. We are doing everything we can to see to it that the African Union through its diplomatic efforts is successful in bringing a halt to the violence, which in turn would allow humanitarian access to parts of northern Ethiopia and once again bring levels of opportunity for all of the people of Ethiopia.”

On whether the United States was considering allowing Ethiopia to again benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Price said the country no longer qualifies.

He said, “So AGOA, or the African Growth and Opportunity Act, as the name suggests, is a piece of legislation. It is – because it is legislation, it is written into law the criteria under which any country is eligible for AGOA and the requirements that any country – in this case in Africa – must meet in order to remain a part of AGOA.

“We did determine late last year that Ethiopia, given the statutory language written into law passed by Congress, was no longer – was not eligible for AGOA, but of course we want to see to it that the conditions that led to that suspension are reversed. We would love to be able to re-engage with Ethiopia under AGOA knowing the tremendous economic opportunity that it has brought not only to Ethiopia in the past but to other parts of the continent as well.”

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