The Biden administration said on Saturday it was “gravely concerned” about the “continuing atrocities” and “denial of humanitarian access” in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
“The United States is gravely concerned by the increasing number of confirmed cases of military forces blocking humanitarian access to parts of the Tigray region. This unacceptable behavior places the 5.2 million people in the region in immediate need of humanitarian assistance at even greater risk,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement received by Today News Africa in Washington DC.
“The United States unequivocally calls upon the Governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia to take all necessary steps to ensure that their forces in Tigray cease and desist this reprehensible conduct,” Blinken added.
He said: “We also again call on all parties to comply with obligations under international humanitarian law, including those relevant to the protection of civilians, and to cease immediately all hostilities and allow relief to reach those suffering and in greatest need of assistance. The Ethiopian government should lead in this regard and immediately facilitate full and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to all parts of the Tigray region.
“There are many credible reports of armed forces in Tigray committing acts of violence against civilians, including gender-based violence and other human rights abuses and atrocities.
“The conduct of the Eritrean Defense Forces and Amhara regional forces have been particularly egregious. The continued presence of Eritrean forces in Tigray further undermines Ethiopia’s stability and national unity. We again call upon the Government of Eritrea to remove its forces from Tigray.
“Both Eritrean and Ethiopian authorities have repeatedly promised such a withdrawal, but we have seen no movement towards implementation. We equally urge the Government of Ethiopia to withdraw Amhara regional forces from the Tigray region and ensure that effective control of western Tigray is returned to the Transitional Government of Tigray. Prime Minister Abiy and President Isais must hold all those responsible for atrocities accountable.”