Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
In a phone call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Tuesday called for an “immediate, indefinite, negotiated ceasefire” in the Tigray region.
He also condemned the destruction of a major bridge into Tigray that will make it more difficult to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people in the region.
“The Secretary stressed the need for all parties to the conflict to commit to an immediate, indefinite, negotiated ceasefire,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
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Price added that Secretary condemned the destruction of bridges into Tigray and other impediments to access and urged Prime Minister Abiy to commit to the steps outlined in the United Nations Security Council on July 2.
According to the United States government, those steps include “the complete withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from Tigray; full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access to populations in need; the establishment of a transparent process to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses and atrocities; and an affirmation that neither the internal nor external borders of Ethiopia will be changed by force or in contravention of the constitution.”
In addition, the Secretary emphasized the urgency of holding an inclusive political dialogue to begin the difficult work of forging a lasting resolution to the country’s ethnic and political divisions.
It was the first phone call between Abiy and Blinken since a ceasefire was declared in Tigray and a major bridge was destroyed threatening humanitarian efforts into the region.