Blinking in Ethiopia as the country recovers from the Tigray conflict

NAIROBI – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Ethiopia to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and others on the recovery from a devastating two-year conflict in the country’s Tigray region that has killed hundreds of thousands.

Blinken will address journalists later on Wednesday about his visit, which the Ethiopian government said also includes discussions of a dispute with downstream Egypt over Ethiopia’s completion of Africa’s largest hydroelectric power station.

The Ethiopian government is eager for the return of economic and other aid from the US and others, but there are concerns about how the government will address widespread human rights abuses being perpetrated by all sides in the conflict. The government has objected to a United Nations commission of inquiry.

“There is a lot to do,” Blinken told Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen. “But the most important thing is to preserve the peace that has now come to the North and strengthen our bonds as we move forward.”

A peace deal signed by the government and Tigray officials in November is still being implemented in a region of more than 5 million where communications, banking and other basic services have been cut off for much of the conflict. Humanitarian organizations now returning to the region are reporting hunger and a lack of medical supplies, with many health centers damaged or destroyed.

A major challenge to the peace deal is the presence of troops from neighboring Eritrea, which was allied to the Ethiopian government in the conflict and was not a party. Observers said the Eritreans had withdrawn to the border areas.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Blinking in Ethiopia as the country recovers from the Tigray conflict

Sarah Y. Kim

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