ADDIS ABABA – Top officials from four Western countries, European Union high representative and Sudan met on Tuesday to discuss the “crisis in Ethiopia”, according to the U.S. Department of States .
The meeting did not involve any government official from Ethiopia.
It was, however, attended by U.S. secretary of State Antony Blinken; EU High Representative Josep Borrell; UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss; German Minister of Foreign Office Niels Annen; French Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Frederic Clavier; and Prime Minister of Sudan and IGAD chair, Abdalla Hamdok.
The discussion was held after Secretary of State Blinken met with African Union High Representative Olusegun Obasanjo, his office said in a readout.
Blinken, accompanied by his Country’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman, hosted the “high level” meeting to discuss the conflict, says the readout.
“They welcomed the close coordination between the African Union and IGAD in pursuit of a peaceful resolution of the crisis,” the readout claims.
It says the U.S., the European Union, France, Germany, and the UK also urged “the parties to immediately end abuses and enter into negotiations toward a ceasefire to lay the foundation for a broader and inclusive dialogue to restore peace in Ethiopia and preserve the unity of the Ethiopian state”.
The Western nations also called on the parties to the conflict to adhere to international law and allow unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to all who are suffering in Ethiopia
Some questioned the intention of hosting the discussion without the presence of a representative from the government of Ethiopia.
In a twitter post, one wrote that the meeting had “nothing to do with humanitarian assistance and suffering of people” but “a quick attempt to save the TPLF”.
“Notable geopolitical game in play, world watching,” he added.
Fighting in Northern Ethiopia broke out last November after the forces of Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked the federal army base in Tigray region- prompting the government to launch “a law enforcement Operation”.
Government forces swiftly drove the TPLF from Tigray’s cities and towns, but the TPLF retook most of the region by late June following the government’s announcement of a unilateral unilateral ceasefire.
Forces of the TPLF, designated as a terrorist group by the parliament, continued the war and invaded parts of the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions, during which many hundreds of thousands were displaced.
Last month, the government said the TPLF troops have been routed from Afar region while some towns in North Gondar and Wollo of Amhara regions remain occupied.
The US hosted the meeting a few days after the TPLF said government troops had launched ground offensives on its troops in Amhara region, according to media reports.
Ethiopian officials have not confirmed the offensive.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price said he has read media reports about the offensive.
“What we’re prepared to say now is that we’ve seen the reports. If we’re in a position to independently confirm that, I will let you know,” he said, adding the U.S. is considering sanctions and has “various tools and authorities” at its disposal to respond.
Some accused the US and other western countries of failing to pressure the TPLF to ceasefire while their forces were on the attack.
In response to Blinken’s twitter post about Tuesday’s meeting, an Ethiopian said “you’re only shouting when TPLF is in defeat. I wonder why you’re so connected with them”.
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