Biden talks to Ethiopia’s Abi, raises civilian death toll, arrest news

The White House said the two leaders discussed the ongoing conflict in Tigray and humanitarian access to the region.

The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden has spoken with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to discuss the country’s ongoing conflict and raised concerns about detentions under a state of emergency.

Biden also expressed concern about civilian deaths in recent airstrikes, the White House said in a statement on Monday, and reiterated the U.S. commitment to working with the African Union and other regional partners to help resolve the conflict.

US President praises Abbey’s recent release Several political prisoners, the two leaders discussed ways to speed up dialogue to achieve a negotiated ceasefire, an urgency to improve humanitarian access across Ethiopia, the White House said.

Abiy tweeted that he had “candid” conversations with Biden on “current issues in Ethiopia, bilateral relations, and regional affairs.”

Government announces pardon

On Friday, the Ethiopian government announced the amnesty of several key members of the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), whose forces have been in brutal clashes with government forces in northern Ethiopia since November 2020, as well as prominent opposition leaders from Ethiopia . Oromo and Amhara.

It is unclear how many of those granted amnesty have been released.

It was the most high-profile move by the government as the country’s deadly Tigray war entered a new phase in late December, when Tigray forces retreated to their area in a military offensive and Ethiopian troops said they would not advance further there .

Ethiopia’s state broadcaster EBC named Jawar Mohammed and Eskinder Nega, who were detained in July 2020 after a deadly riot over the killing of Oromo pop artist Hachalu Hundessa, as they were granted amnesty.

Valderas party leader Eskind left a detention center on Friday night.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, aid agencies pause After they work in part of the Tigray area deadly air raid In a camp for people displaced by the war, the UN emergency agency said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement that according to preliminary information, the attack in the town of Dedebit, northwest of Tigray, “resulted in dozens of civilian casualties, including deaths.”

“Humanitarian partners have suspended activities in the area due to the continued threat of drone strikes,” it said.

Rescuers and the TPLF said 56 people had been killed in the attack. These claims could not be independently verified as access to war-hit Tigray is restricted and it remains in a state of communication outage.

The Tigray region is one of Ethiopia’s 10 semi-autonomous federal states divided by ethnicity, and the Tigray people are the majority, accounting for about 6% of Ethiopia’s population of more than 110 million.

The ongoing conflict has killed tens of thousands and sparked a string of abuse of power, including massacres and rapes.

Some 400,000 people in Tigray face famine, and millions in northern Ethiopia need food aid because of the war.