Biden administration speaks about Ethiopia for first time since ceasefire, vows to tackle “ongoing abuses and atrocities”

The Biden administration on Tuesday spoke about Ethiopia for the first time since government forces and officials left the regional capital of Tigray on Monday.

Ethiopia’s government also declared an immediate and unilateral cease-fire in the Tigray region, where millions are at risk of famine after nearly eight months of violent conflict that has destabilized the region.

The cease-fire came amid news that the Tigray Defense Forces took over the regional capital of Mekelle, forcing the interim administration to flee and Ethiopian federal forces to retreat.

The Ethiopian government said the cease-fire will “enable farmers to till their land, aid groups to operate without any military movement around and engage with remnants who seek peace.”

Abiy Ahmed 
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali

In a news release in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, the Biden administration spoke about Ethiopia for the first time since the new development on Monday.

The administration said it will continue “to engage with G20 and other international partners to address humanitarian and human rights challenges in Africa, especially the conflict-induced famine and ongoing abuses and atrocities in Ethiopia.”

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivers a speech on American Leadership on Climate, in Annapolis, Maryland on April 19, 2021. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ 
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivers a speech on American Leadership on Climate, in Annapolis, Maryland on April 19, 2021. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/

The statement by the United States Department of State did not specifically reference the new reality in Ethiopia on Monday but said the U.S. Secretary of State Antony  Blinken who is traveling to Bari and Matera, Italy, June 28-29, to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, “will reinforce the United States’ commitment to strong coordination with partners and allies to address global challenges, including combating the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening global health security, supporting democracy and human rights, addressing the climate crisis, preventing famine and acute food insecurity, and fostering a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery. ”

The G20 foreign ministers will also discuss supporting inclusive economic development and prosperity in Africa, it said.

Before the pandemic, Africa had some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. But that has now changed.

The United States said it supports getting African economies growing again and building them back better and more resilient.

Increased economic engagement between the United States and Africa will strengthen economic ties and boost shared prosperity for Africa and the United States.

“The United States will partner with African governments, multilateral organizations, and the private sector to substantially increase two-way trade and investment with African countries in order to drive democratic, sustainable, climate-friendly and equitable growth, and to create quality jobs for people in Africa and the United States,” the Biden administration said, explaining that “This includes supporting efforts to increase energy access, which underpins economic growth.”

“The United States recognizes that African countries are already facing the worst impacts of climate change and will continue efforts to strengthen resilience to climate impacts while building stronger economies.”

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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