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Secretary of State Antony Blinken (File Pic)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (File Pic)

Blinken urges parties to conflict in Ethiopia to start peace negotiations

ANI | Updated: Nov 05, 2021 16:34 IST

Washington [US], November 5 (ANI/Sputnik): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday the Ethiopian authorities and the advancing rebels of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (PNLF) should end the internal armed conflict and begin peace negotiations.
On Thursday, Ethiopian media reported that the lower house of the country's parliament approved imposing a state of emergency in a last-ditch effort to protect the population from the advancing rebels. The rebels have gained control of the town of Kombolcha, less than 370 kilometres (230 miles) north of the capital of Addis Ababa, on October 31 and are moving southward.
"The conflict in Ethiopia must come to an end. Peace negotiations should begin immediately without preconditions in pursuit of a ceasefire," Blinken wrote on Twitter.
On Thursday, the US Department of State's website published Blinken's statement, remarking that the Tigray-related conflict began a year ago. The United States expressed deep concern about the risk of communal violence in Ethiopia. According to the official, the situation is exacerbated by the "bellicose rhetoric" used by all parties to the conflict.

"With the safety and security of millions in the balance, and more than 900,000 facing conflict-induced famine-like conditions, we prevail upon all forces to lay down their arms and open dialogue to maintain the unity and integrity of the Ethiopian state," the statement said.
In addition, Blinken called on Ethiopian government forces to end their military campaign and stop airstrikes on Tigray. The Eritrean government, which has been backing the Ethiopian government, should withdraw its troops from Ethiopia. The Secretary of State also urged the rebels of the PNLF and the Oromo Liberation Front to "immediately stop current advance towards Addis Ababa".
Blinken said that the international community is ready to help the Ethiopian people to end the conflict.
The Ethiopian government and the TPLF rebels, which dominated the political life of Ethiopia for almost three decades, have been locked in conflict over control of the north of the country since November 2020, when the central authorities accused the TPLF of attacking a military base. The Ethiopian government launched an operation in Tigray with the support of neighbouring Eritrea.
In the spring of 2021, Ethiopian authorities announced the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray. In June, the rebels took control of the administrative centre of the region, Mekelle City, after which the government declared an unconditional ceasefire. However, the rebels soon launched a new offensive, taking control of part of Tigray and invading the Amhara Region. (ANI/Sputnik)