Why Did Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Rebuff Samantha Power?

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week rebuffed a request to meet face to face with a top Biden administration official to address the country’s civil war and worsening humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region, dealing a blow to U.S. efforts to tamp down a conflict that threatens to fuel famine and destabilize the wider Horn of Africa.

When Samantha Power, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), visited Ethiopia last week to seek greater access for humanitarian aid workers in Tigray, she was asked in a press conference why she hadn’t met with the Ethiopian prime minister.

“He was not in the capital today on my day here,” she said.

Ethiopia-Sudan tension rises over Tigray conflict

Sudan recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia Aug. 8 for consultations after Ethiopian officials accused Khartoum of interfering in the Tigray crisis.

In a statement, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry rejected the Ethiopian accusations against Sudan of not staying neutral in mediating the conflict in Tigray. The statement said that a resolution of the Tigray conflict is part of Sudan’s commitment to peace and regional stability and the stabilization of Ethiopia.

Sudan pledged to continue to push for a solution to the conflict and said that it is seeking to mediate between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) with the aim of reaching a peaceful solution to the nine-month-old conflict.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been in contact with the Ethiopian central government and the TPLF leaders, working to bring the two parties to the negotiating table to discuss a peaceful solution and allow the entry of humanitarian aid for civilians.

Sudan recalls ambassador to Ethiopia as tensions high amid Tigray war

Sudan said Sunday it has ordered its envoy to Ethiopia home for consultations after a government spokesperson in Addis Ababa rejected a Sudanese initiative to mediate a cease-fire in the Tigray war and accused it of occupying Ethiopian territory.

The move announced in a Foreign Ministry statement was the latest sign of deteriorating ties between the African neighbors. The tensions began after Sudan deployed troops late last year to the fertile al-Fashaga border area it says was occupied for over two decades by Ethiopian farmers and militias.

Billene Seyoum, spokesperson for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said Thursday that ties with Sudan have been “a little bit tricky” and accused Khartoum of occupying Ethiopian territory – a reference to al-Fashaga. She said Sudan was not a “credible party” to facilitate negotiations between Ahmed’s government and Tigray leaders.

Sudan-Ethiopia tensions rise amid diplomatic wrangling and famine

After Sudanese efforts to help broker a ceasefire in Tigray were rejected by Ethiopia, Khartoum has recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa.

With Sudan currently chairing the regional body Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said he was trying to “encourage all Ethiopian sides to reach a ceasefire agreement, and engage in comprehensive political talks”, in a statement released on Sunday.

Fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region began last November when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops in to defeat the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Part of the issue stems from Fashaga, the contested border region that is used by Ethiopian farmers, but claimed by Sudan.

Sudan recalls ambassador from Ethiopia after ‘unsubstantiated allegations’

Sudan summoned its ambassador to Ethiopia for consultations after statements issued by senior Ethiopian officials rejected Khartoum’s mediation in the conflict raging in the Tigray region on the grounds of “non-neutrality and the occupation of Ethiopian lands”.

Diplomatic sources said that the Sudanese Ambassador to Addis Ababa, Jamal Al-Sheikh, will meet with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok to discuss these developments in Sudanese Ethiopian relations.

In a statement, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that “the suggestion that Sudan played a role in the conflict, and the claim of occupation, is a continuation of Ethiopia’s practice of overriding facts in its relationship with Sudan and promoting allegations that it has no basis for based only on the ambitions of circles in the Ethiopian government.”

Ceasefire in Tigray more urgent than ever: UN relief chief

Speaking in Geneva, Martin Griffiths highlighted the urgency of the situation for all those affected in the northern Ethiopian region, after eight months of fighting between Government forces and those loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Earlier this week, the UN senior official warned that 200,000 people had been displaced by fighting in neighbouring Amhara region, along with more than 50,000 in Afar.

“This war has to stop, this war has to end; we will all of us continue to try to make sure that those 100 trucks a day reach Mekelle, reach the beneficiaries”, Mr. Griffiths insisted. “We will do everything we can to help the people affected in Amhara and Afar, while continuing the work in other parts of Ethiopia.”

Bloomberg: U.S. Official Calls for Cease-Fire as Ethiopia Conflict Deepens

The head of the U.S Agency for International Development called for an end to hostilities and on anti-government forces to withdraw from two regions bordering Ethiopia’s war-ravaged Tigray region.

Samantha Power’s comments in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, came after the U.S. State Department reinforced its calls for Tigray forces, which have been embroiled in a nine-month conflict with the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to “withdraw its associated military forces immediately from the Amhara and Afar regions.”

The worsening conflict may scare overseas investment into Africa’s second-most populous nation just as it prepares to lure overseas telecommunications operators, as well as investors for its sugar assets. The violence has spilled into the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions as Tigray forces seek to push back against their adversaries following gains in June and July.

Aljazeera: USAID chief Power says Tigray rebels should exit border regions

The head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said she had raised concerns about “dehumanising rhetoric” with Ethiopian authorities and also called on rebel forces to “immediately” withdraw from two regions bordering the country’s war-hit Tigray.

Wednesday’s call by Samantha Power came as the conflict threatens to envelop other parts of the country and humanitarian groups struggle to reach cut-off populations.

PBS: Ethiopian government appears determined to target Tigray as humanitarian crisis deepens (Transcript)

The Biden administration this week sent its most senior official yet to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. USAID Director Samantha Power is putting pressure on the Ethiopian government and its Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister to alleviate a humanitarian crisis in the country’s Tigray region. But as Nick Schifrin reports, the Ethiopian government seems determined to target Tigray

DW: Ethiopia – A catastrophe in the making

Thousands of people have died, around 2 million have been displaced, more than 5 million rely on emergency food aid and 400,000 are at risk of starvation. But violence in Ethiopia is growing beyond Tigray province.

In Ethiopia’s Tigray province, a lack of medical supplies, frequent power cuts and a severe fuel scarcity — not to mention a cash shortage due to closed banks, and growing unemployment after factories were shut down or looted — is making life increasingly difficult for the population, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“The humanitarian situation is very worrying and getting worse,” said Alyona Synenko, the ICRC’s spokesperson for Africa.