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U.S. official urges parties in Ethiopia to commit to ceasefire

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Getty Images)

July 7, 2021 (WASHINGTON) - The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken has urged all parties to the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region to commit to an immediate, indefinite and negotiated ceasefire.

Blinken, his spokesperson said, spoke with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday.

“The Secretary condemned the destruction of bridges into Tigray and other impediments to access,” read a statement issued by State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price.

The U.S. official further urged Abiy to commit to the steps outlined in the United Nations Security Council on July 2, including the complete withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from Tigray; full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to populations in need; the establishment of a transparent process to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses and atrocities; and an affirmation that neither the internal nor external borders of Ethiopia will be changed by force or in contravention of the constitution.

“In addition, the Secretary emphasized the urgency of holding an inclusive political dialogue to begin the difficult work of forging a lasting resolution to the country’s ethnic and political divisions,” further stressed the statement.

Last week, Ethiopian federal forces declared a unilateral ceasefire and pulled out of Mekelle, the capital of Tigray province, as well as dozens of other towns.

The UN called for the ceasefire to be respected to allow humanitarian aid to reach the civilian populations as millions in Tigray are threatened with famine or face critical and life-threatening conditions.

(ST)

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