President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met on Wednesday with representatives of The Elders, an organization of prominent former world leaders founded in 2007 by former South African President Nelson Mandela, to address global challenges, including the devastating war in northern Ethiopia.
The representatives in attendance included Chair of The Elders Mary Robinson – Former President of Ireland; Gro Harlem Brundtland – Former Prime Minister of Norway; Former World Health Organization Director-General; Ricardo Lagos – Former President of Chile; Juan Manuel Santos – Former President of Colombia; Hina Jilani – Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan, and David Nussbaum – The Elders Outgoing Chief Executive.
“They discussed the importance of U.S. leadership in addressing threats to peace and security, including tackling the climate crisis, advancing nuclear arms control, ending the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening health security, and promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts in Ethiopia and elsewhere around the world,” NSC spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.
The conflict in Ethiopia has dragged on for up to 11 months, killed thousands of people, displaced hundreds of thousands and left many others at an increased risk of famine.
The United States has been vocal and has agreed with the United Nations that there is no military solution to the conflict. The administration has called on all parties to negotiate and find a lasting solution to the conflict through peaceful means.
However, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has embraced war rather than peace, a decision that has infuriated Washington. On Monday, Ethiopian forces launched two airstrikes on Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray, a move that has escalated things further away from a peaceful resolution.