Blinken presses Ethiopia’s Abiy to ensure full withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray

Monday, in a phone call to Abiy, Blinken “pressed for Ethiopia’s and Eritrea’s commitments to withdraw Eritrean troops from Tigray to be implemented immediately, in full, and in a verifiable manner,” said the State Department.

Blinken stated Eritrean forces and Amhara local forces in the Tigray region are contributing to the developing humanitarian catastrophe and committing human rights abuses, in keeping with a declaration by U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price describing a phone call with Abiy.

“The Secretary also stressed the need for all parties to the conflict to end hostilities immediately,” Price said.

Washington stated last week that it had seen no evidence of a troop withdrawal promised by Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Blinken also expressed concern in the call about the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Ethiopia, including the increasing risk of famine in the Tigray region, price said.

The armed conflict in Tigray has resulted in thousands of deaths and displaced thousands more inside the country. Hundreds of thousands have also been forced to flee to neighboring Sudan. The Tigray region of more than 5 million people is facing shortages of food, water and medicine, according to the United Nations.  

The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia. For the Tigray response efforts only, the U.S. has provided nearly $305 million in humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of people in need.

The Eritrean information minister, Abiy’s spokeswoman and the head of a government taskforce on Tigray did not return messages seeking comment.

Ethiopia announced that it will be committed to investigating human rights violations and providing humanitarian assistance.