December 6, 2022

In phone call with Kenyatta, Blinken calls for urgent negotiations in Ethiopia

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretaries, in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 17, 2021. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretaries, in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 17, 2021. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Friday called for urgent negotiations to begin in Ethiopia during a phone call with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

Secretary Blinken also expressed “grave concern about worrying signs of military escalation in Ethiopia,” the State Department said in a statement.

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.  Secretary Blinken thanked President Kenyatta for his warm and productive visit to Nairobi on November 17-18,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in his statement. “Secretary Blinken expressed grave concern about worrying signs of military escalation in Ethiopia and emphasized the need to urgently move to negotiations.”

Price added that President Kenyatta and Secretary Blinken agreed on the importance of unhindered humanitarian access for all communities affected by the conflict and reiterated their support for an inclusive political dialogue.

Ethiopians rally at the White House in Washington DC, on November 8, 2021, in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in the ongoing conflict in Tigray. Photo: TODAY NEWS AFRICA/Simon Ateba

The United States has been vocal in its opposition to the conflict in Ethiopia and has repeatedly called for negotiations to begin and for the war to stop.

But such calls have gone unheeded by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and fighters from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front who continue to advance toward the capital Addis Ababa making more likely that a military confrontation might break out within weeks or months.

The United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and other western nations have asked their citizens to leave Ethiopia now that commercial flights remain available.

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