US envoy pushes for peace talks and unrestricted support deliveries to Ethiopia

US envoy pushes for peace talks and unrestricted support deliveries to Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – The new US envoy for the Horn of Africa on Saturday referred to as for progress in holding the Ethiopian peace talks and for unrestricted support deliveries to the nation’s stricken areas.

Mike Hammer, who arrived in Addis Ababa on Friday, met with Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen, the US embassy mentioned.

They mentioned the “need for continued progress to ensure the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance, human rights accountability and political talks to end the conflict and achieve lasting peace”, the embassy mentioned on Twitter.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s authorities and its rival, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), have each raised the prospect of peace talks to finish the brutal battle that erupted in November 2020.

But main hurdles have emerged, together with over who ought to arbitrate the negotiations.

Abiy needs the African Union, based mostly in Addis Ababa, to mediate any negotiations, whereas the TPLF insists that negotiations be led by neighboring Kenya.

Abiy’s nationwide safety adviser, Redwan Hussein, mentioned on Twitter this week that the federal government was able to speak “anytime and anywhere” and that negotiations ought to start “without preconditions”.

Meanwhile, TPLF-linked Tigrai TV quoted insurgent chief Debretsion Gebremichael as warning that primary providers would must be restored in Tigray earlier than negotiations may start.

Fighting has eased in northern Ethiopia since a humanitarian truce was declared in late March, permitting desperately wanted support convoys to renew.

Malnutrition and meals insecurity

Countless folks have been killed within the conflict and the UN says greater than 13 million individuals are in want of meals help in Tigray and neighboring Afar and Amhara areas, with excessive ranges of meals insecurity and malnutrition.

Tigray itself lacks meals, gasoline and important providers equivalent to electrical energy, communications and banking, with tons of of hundreds of individuals dwelling in dire situations as a result of what the United Nations has described. as a de facto blockade.

The UN’s humanitarian response company OCHA mentioned that since support convoys resumed on April 1, 4,308 vans had arrived in Tigray’s capital Mekele by July 19.

In Addis, Hammer additionally “examined” the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the large-scale hydroelectric undertaking on the Blue Nile, the embassy mentioned.

On Friday, Egypt mentioned it had protested to the UN Security Council in opposition to Ethiopian plans to fill the reservoir of the controversial dam for a 3rd 12 months with out the settlement of downstream nations.

The multibillion-dollar GERD is about to be Africa’s largest hydropower undertaking, nevertheless it has been at the middle of a dispute with Egypt and Sudan since work started in 2011.

“We are actively committed to supporting a diplomatic track under the auspices of the African Union that results in an agreement that meets the long-term needs of every citizen along the Nile,” Hammer mentioned throughout a go to to Egypt this week.

Addis Ababa sees the GERD as important for the electrification and growth of Africa’s second most populous nation.

But Cairo and Khartoum worry this threatens their entry to the very important waters of the Nile.

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