US imposes restrictions on Ethiopia’s aid on Tigray
By David Shepardson and Daphne Psaledakis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government has said it is imposing broad restrictions on economic assistance and security in Ethiopia due to atrocities in Tigray, as well as banning current and former government officials Ethiopian or Eritrean whom he considered responsible for the crisis.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Sunday that the new US actions are to push for a resolution to the crisis: “The time has come for the international community to act.”
Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands more have been forced to leave their homes in the Tigray region since November after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) launched attacks on Ethiopian forces . Ethiopian troops and soldiers from neighboring Eritrea have been accused of massacres and murders in their fight against the rebel group.
The Ethiopian government’s efforts to quash the TPLF rebellion have sparked an ethnic witch hunt across the country, according to a Reuters investigation this month, which found that Tigrayans had been arrested, harassed, sacked or suspended from their homes. work, or had their bank accounts temporarily frozen. .
Blinken said the United States will continue to provide humanitarian aid and some other essential aid to Ethiopia and maintain its existing broad restrictions on assistance to Eritrea.
Blinken said the United States can also deny visas for “members of the security forces, or others – to include regional and irregular forces in Amhara and members” of the TPLF they hold “responsible. or accomplices in the resolution of the crisis. in Tigray. “
He also warned that if those responsible for undermining a resolution to the Tigray crisis fail to reverse course, they should anticipate further action from the United States and the international community.
Blinken said the parties “have taken no significant steps to end hostilities or pursue a peaceful resolution of the political crisis.”
The United States called on the Ethiopian government to honor its public commitments to hold accountable all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, to protect civilians and to ensure unhindered humanitarian access, Blinken said. He also urged the “Eritrean government to respect its public commitment and immediately return its troops to internationally recognized Eritrean territory.”
The Ethiopian government is under increasing pressure from the international community to show responsibility as reports of atrocities in Tigray mount. The European Union has suspended budget support payments amid reports of brutal gang rapes, massacres of civilians and widespread looting in the northern region.
Ethiopia has pledged to investigate human rights violations and Ethiopia and Eritrea have pledged the withdrawal of Eritrean troops.
The United Nations has said war crimes may have been committed by all parties involved in the conflict.
(Reporting by David Shepardson, Daphne Psaledakis Patricia Zengerle and Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Tom Hogue and Diane Craft)