Blinken calls for negotiations amid Ethiopia’s military escalation | Conflict news

The US Secretary of State expresses concern about the escalation of fighting between government forces and Tigrayan fighters.

A US State Department spokesperson said US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was deeply concerned about the Ethiopian military escalation and called for urgent negotiations on the crisis.

The comments came late on Friday, hours after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed He appeared on the front line with the national army.

“Secretary Blinken expressed grave concern about the worrying signs of a military escalation in Ethiopia and emphasized the need to move urgently to negotiations,” Ned Price said in a statement.

Price released the statement after a phone call between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Blinken.

Ethiopia’s state radio station Fana reported on Friday that Abiy was on the front line with the army fighting the Tigrayan rebel forces in the northeastern Afar region.

My father posted the same video on his Twitter account.

“We will not surrender until we bury the enemy,” he said in a recorded statement, adding that the army’s morale was high.

Abiy Ahmed’s government has been battling Tigrayan forces for more than a year in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions in Africa’s second most populous country.

The United Nations World Food Program said on Friday that the number of people needing food aid in the north of the country had risen to more than nine million.

The conflict began in November 2020 when Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, sent troops to Tigray to overthrow the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The TPLF controlled the federal government for nearly 30 years until Abiy took office in 2018.

A few weeks later, government forces captured Mekele, the capital of Tigray, in what appeared to be a decisive victory. However, the war raged and by June 2021 the Tigrayan forces had regained most of the area And pushed to the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar.

Tigrayan forces recently announced significant territorial gains, claiming this week to have captured a town 220 kilometers (135 miles) from the capital, Addis Ababa. Much of northern Ethiopia suffers from cuts in communications, and access to journalists is severely restricted, making it difficult to verify the veracity of battlefield claims.

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