Announcing a move, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says no “significant steps” have been taken to end hostilities.
The United States has announced visa restrictions on Ethiopian and Eritrean officials accused of escalating the six-month war in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, saying those involved “have not taken significant steps to end hostilities.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday he was also putting a brake on economic and security assistance in Ethiopia, but humanitarian aid in areas such as health, food and education.
“People in Tigray continue to suffer human rights violations, abuse and atrocities, and the Ethiopian and Eritrean military and other armed actors are blocking urgently needed humanitarian aid,” Blinken said in a statement.
“Despite a significant diplomatic compromise, the parties to the conflict in Tigray have not taken any significant steps to end hostilities or pursue a peaceful resolution of the political crisis.”
Thousands have been killed and hundreds more forced from their homes in the Tigray region since November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to arrest and disarm the leaders of the regional ruling party, the TPLF.
Blinken said the restrictions were aimed at “current or former Ethiopian or Eritrean government officials, members of the security forces or other individuals – to include regional and irregular Amhara forces and members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). ) – responsible or complicit in, undermining the resolution of the crisis in Tigray “.
Thousands have been killed and hundreds more forced from their homes in the Tigray region since November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to detain and disarm the leaders of the regional ruling party, the TPLF, after alleged attacks on army camps.
Ethiopian troops and soldiers from neighboring Eritrea have been accused of massacres and assassinations in their fight against the rebel group.
“The United States strongly condemns killings, forced killings, systemic sexual violence and other human rights violations and abuses,” Blinken said.
“We are equally dismayed by the destruction of civilian property, including water sources, hospitals and medical centers, which is taking place in Tigray.”
Blinken warned that if those responsible for undermining the resolution of the Tigray crisis do not reverse course, they should anticipate actions by the US and the international community.
The U.S. called on the Ethiopian government to meet public commitments to hold all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses accountable, to protect civilians, and to ensure unhindered humanitarian access, Blinken said. He also urged the “Eritrean government to fulfill its public commitment and immediately return its troops to internationally recognized Eritrean territory.”
The Ethiopian government has been under increasing pressure from the international community to demonstrate accountability as reports of atrocities on Mount Tigray. The European Union has suspended budget support payments amid reports of brutal mass rapes, mass killings of civilians and widespread looting in the northern region.
Ethiopia says it is committed to investigating human rights violations and Ethiopia and Eritrea have promised to withdraw Eritrean troops.
The United Nations has said it is possible that all participants in the conflict have committed war crimes.