Biden administration says Ethiopia’s elections were not free or fair, calls for dialogue, withdrawal of Eritrean forces and transparent investigation of atrocities in Tigray

The June 21 elections in Ethiopia were neither free nor fair for all Ethiopians, the Biden administration said on Friday, citing the boycott of the elections by opposition parties, the detention of vocal political leaders, and the ongoing violence in multiple parts of the country.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali address the media briefing at the conclusion of the Official Visit by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at the Union Buildings in Tshwane. January 12, 2020 
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali address the media briefing at the conclusion of the Official Visit by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at the Union Buildings in Tshwane. January 12, 2020

The Biden administration added that the ongoing conflict, violence, and likely famine declaration in Tigray “demand urgent action, including a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Ethiopian territory, the transparent investigation of atrocities, and unhindered humanitarian access to populations in need.”

“The June 21 elections in Ethiopia took place against a backdrop of grave instability, including increasing inter-ethnic and inter-communal conflicts, and an electoral process that was not free or fair for all Ethiopians,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The Biden administration called for the launch of “an inclusive effort to build a national consensus on the governance of Ethiopia that preserves the sovereignty and unity of the state and strengthens the constitutional order.”

It also called on all Ethiopians to reject post-election violence and embrace peace and national dialogue, asserting that “democracy flourishes when institutions of governance are inclusive, transparent, accountable, and responsive to its people.”

“In this period following the election, it is critical that Ethiopians come together to confront growing divisions. We urge politicians and community leaders to reject violence and refrain from inciting others to violence,” Blinken said. “We look forward to a continued partnership with the Ethiopian people and to supporting efforts to promote inclusive political participation that moves the country forward on a path to democracy and national unity.”

The United States said it “stands ready to assist Ethiopians to advance post-election dialogue, resolution of conflicts, and national reconciliation in Ethiopia.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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