Blinken warns of an internal explosion in Ethiopia and Washington imposes sanctions on Eritrean parties

Today, Friday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned of an “internal explosion” in Ethiopia that would lead to unrest with a devastating impact on the region, if the government and the Tigray Liberation Front did not initiate negotiations, while Washington imposed sanctions on Eritrea over the Tigray war.

Blinken told reporters that failure to reach an agreement between the two parties “will lead to Ethiopia’s implosion from within, and this will have repercussions on other countries in the region, which is disastrous for the Ethiopian people and the countries of the region.”

“The other path is to stop all ongoing military actions, and negotiate a real ceasefire to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches all areas where the population needs it,” he said.

“I believe that this is not only possible, but necessary. I can tell you that the United States is working hard to support all efforts to push Ethiopia in this direction,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) spokesman Getachew Reda told Reuters on Friday that the TPLF will “track” foreign nationals it accuses of serving as mercenaries for the government on the battlefields.

Sanctions against Eritrean parties

Today, Friday, the United States imposed sanctions on the Eritrean army, 4 entities and two people, in the context of escalating American pressure on the parties to the conflict, to put an end to the fighting in northern Ethiopia.

And the US Treasury said – in a statement – that it had included the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice – the ruling political party in Eritrea – and its economic advisor, and the head of the Eritrean National Security Office on the blacklist, accusing everyone of participating in the raging conflict in neighboring Ethiopia.

It stated that it is ready to take additional measures, including against the Ethiopian government and the Tigray Liberation Front.

She added that “Eritrean forces were active throughout Ethiopia during the conflict, and were responsible for perpetrating massacres, looting and sexual assaults.”

“We condemn the continued role of the Eritrean parties involved in the violence in northern Ethiopia, which has undermined the stability and integrity of the state and resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe,” said Andrea Gaghi, head of the US Treasury’s Sanctions Office.

The Eritrean information minister, an Ethiopian government spokesman, or a spokesman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The sanctions came about 4 weeks after US President Joe Biden issued an executive order allowing the imposition of punitive measures on individuals and bodies contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.

Prior to that, on August 23, the United States imposed sanctions on the Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Defense Forces, General Philippos Weldiohannes, for “serious human rights violations” committed by his forces in Tigray.

displacement crisis

On the humanitarian level, Patrick Youssef, the Regional Director for Africa at the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that the escalation of fighting in northern Ethiopia is alarming, and is driving a large number of people from their homes.

He added – in a previous interview with Al Jazeera – that the teams of the International Committee of the Red Cross are intensifying their efforts in Tigray, Amhara and Afar, to reach the largest number of displaced people.

In the same context, the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission said that the number of displaced people in the city of Debre Burhan fleeing the war in the Amhara region (in the north of the country) has reached about 220,000.

The director of public relations at the UNHCR said that the number of displaced people is increasing, warning of the dangers of displacement, which he said threaten civil and civil peace.

The spokesman indicated that about 9 thousand displaced people were sheltered in 6 schools in the city, while thousands live without shelter, stressing that UNHCR is working in cooperation with the concerned authorities to distribute food and non-food aid to the displaced.

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