Blinken presses Ethiopia to end Tigray hostilities, fears ‘humanitarian disaster’


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday pressed Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to end hostilities in the northern Tigray region, citing what he called an impending humanitarian “disaster”, including rising fears of famine.

In a phone call with the prime minister, Mr. Blinken voiced “grave concern about the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights crisis in the country”, the State Department said in a statement.

Mr. Blinken called on troops from neighbouring Eritrea – which first acknowledged a presence in Tigray earlier this month and promised a withdrawal – to pull out “immediately, in full and in a verifiable manner.”

Forces in Tigray from Eritrea as well as the Ethiopian region of Amhara “are contributing to the growing humanitarian disaster and committing human rights abuses,” the statement said.

Mr. Blinken said that Jeffrey Feltman, a veteran diplomat given a new role of US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, would soon visit Ethiopia to press his points.

Mr. Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, launched an offensive in the Tigray region in November after accusing the long-ruling local party of attacking the military.

The government claimed victory later that month but concerns have persisted on the humanitarian front, with refugees fleeing into neighbouring regions. (Source: CNA)