Ethiopia: Week in Review

March 20, 2021


Joe Biden sent his close ally Senator Chris Coons of Delaware to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to deliver what a White House official termed a "tough message" to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Before Senator Coons landed in Addis Ababa, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tweeted a stern warning to new TPLF recruits and allies to surrender giving an early signal that he is not likely to be swayed by Senator Coon's request to end hostilities with the TPLF.

On the day of Mr. Coons visit, The Eritrean Embassy to Addis Ababa telegraphed a message of "self-reliance" signaling that Asmara is keenly aware that the Senator was dispatched to create a rift between the two countries through threats of economic and diplomatic strong-arming.

The United States also announced $52 million of humanitarian aid to Tigray following last week's announcement that  it had halted assistance to most programs in the security sector. Justice Department records indicate that both the TPLF and the Ethiopian government are aggressively lobbying politicians in Washington DC.

A spokesperson for the Amhara regional government confirmed that the Ethiopian government has approved the reincorporation of Wolkait, Tegede, Telemet, Humera, and Raya regions and rejected US' assertion that ethnic-cleansing had taken place in parts of these regions.

The UN Human rights chief Michelle Bachelet accepted an invitation from the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to jointly investigate alleged war crimes.

Media organizations recently granted access to the Tigray region are sounding the alarm about the high number of cases of rape and sexual violence in the region. The Ethiopian government, through its UK embassy, has responded to these reports and vowed to "thoroughly investigate these allegations and bring perpetrators to justice".

GERD, Egypt & Sudan

Sudan formally requested the involvement of the European Union, United States, and the UN in the ongoing dispute over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Ethiopian officials flatly rejected calls for external mediation. One of the Ethiopian chief negotiators stated that Egypt & Sudan's calls to involve these external parties is intended to "pressurize Ethiopia to accept their proposal which will strip the rights of the country to develop its water resources".

Egypt also took to the UN General Assembly to express concerns about Ethiopia's plans to fill the dam this coming summer.

Chairman of Sudan's Transitional Government, President Abdel Fattah Al Burhan signaled that there will be no diplomatic solution to the border dispute between the two countries and that the Sudanese Armed Forces will not vacate to their pre-incursion positions.

More Developments 

Ethnic Amhara civilians continue to be massacred in several targeted killings throughout the country. In Northern Shewa region, more than 20 civilians were killed by Oromo Liberation Army rebels.

Ethiopia is having difficulty paying off its debts and some high level US State Department advisors have suggested the US use debt negotiations as leverage to force the Ethiopian government to negotiate with the TPLF.

Elsewhere the US and Ethiopia are clashing regarding final conclusions of the March 2019 Boeing 737 crash.

Ethiopia recorded the highest number of weekly COVID-19 cases in Africa over the past week and the UK announced a travel ban on travelers from Ethiopia

Opposition politician Lidetu Ayalew has been banned from traveling outside the country to seek medical treatment.

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