Biden urges ceasefire in Ethiopia’s Tigray region


US President Joe Biden has called for a ceasefire in Ethiopia’s conflict-ridden Tigray region in view of the escalating violence there.

“Political wounds cannot be healed through force of arms,” dpa news agency quoted Biden as saying on Wednesday evening.

He said belligerents in the Tigray region should declare and adhere to a ceasefire, and Eritrean and Amhara forces should withdraw.

“I am deeply concerned by the escalating violence and the hardening of regional and ethnic divisions in multiple parts of Ethiopia. The large-scale human rights abuses taking place in Tigray, including widespread sexual violence, are unacceptable and must end.

“Families of every background and ethnic heritage deserve to live in peace and security in their country,” the President said.

The US government’s special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeff Feltman, will travel to the region again next week to seek a peaceful settlement of the conflicts, Biden said.

The Ethiopian government launched a military offensive in November 2020 against the the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in northern Ethiopia, which until then had power in the Tigray region.

The hostilities in northern Ethiopia soon escalated into a complex conflict involving neighbouring Eritrea.

Ethiopia had long denied that Eritrean troops were present in the conflict-ridden region, but then announced in early April that they would be withdrawn.

Ethiopia’s military offensive followed years of tension between the TPLF and the central government, in a conflict which has driven hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and caused widespread destruction.