(By Mekete Tigray UK, 20 January 2021) –
Washington DC – US Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken said, on his Senate confirmation hearing, the war raging in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as an “aggression” and “we have seen deeply deeply concerning actions taken including a number of atrocities directed at the people of Tigray and directed at Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia.
Mr Blinken carried on saying that “he worries that what started there has the potential to be destabilising throughout the Horn of Africa. So, he would like to see American diplomacy fully engaged in trying to contain with this challenge and start with our very active engagement not been AWOL.”
Mr Blinken also noted that “we [the USA] need to see much greater access to the region, accountability and an effort to put a dialogue in place so the issues that cause the conflict can be discussed and litigated as supposed to dealt with through violence. We need to see restoration of communications. We need access for humanitarian assistance in the region.”
He was asked whether he would appoint a special envoy to the Horn of Africa as conflict in the northern Ethiopia region spirals out of control, Mr Blinken said; he would consider naming a special envoy to the region.
Mr Blinken made these remarks on his confirmation hearing before the Senate committee on Tuesday, 19 January, hours before the Inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The Abiy Amhed government announced the imprisonment of high profile Tigrayan politician Aboy Sebhat Nega, Abay Weldu and the killings of retired former Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, Abay Tsehaye and Asmelash Weldeselassie on 15 January 2021.
The US had previously confirmed that there was involvement of Eritrean troops in Tigray but has not devoted any effort to bring the conflict to an end in Tigray region amid reports of massacres, war crimes against humanity, rape and gross human rights abuses by Eritrean troops, Ethiopian Federal Army, Amhara Special Forces and Militias.