Feb. 2 marked three months since the federal government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a deal for the permanent cessation of hostilities in a conflict that has decimated the northern region of Tigray.
Addressing a press briefing in Washington Thursday, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price “commended the parties for their commitment to the cessation of hostilities agreement and encouraged continued implementation,” while noting that “fighting stopped immediately after signing the agreement.”
“Over the past three months, we have seen important progress by the parties in implementing key aspects of this agreement, including the steady and growing delivery of humanitarian aid,” he said.
He also highlighted the “Initial steps in discussions about a transitional justice process, the ongoing restoration of services – electricity, telecommunications, and banking – significant turnover of heavy weapons, and, in the past couple weeks, a pullback of Eritrean forces from the Tigray region.”
Price also reiterated the U.S.' commitment to support the 54-nation African Union and its High-Level Panel to help deliver lasting peace as well as efforts to avoid further conflict and human rights violations in Oromia.
“We continue to seek peace and stability in Ethiopia to build upon the longstanding, strong partnership between our governments and our people.”
During a recent Africa trip by the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield claimed that Eritrean troops are still in Ethiopia although they have moved to the border between the two countries, contradicting remarks by Ethiopian officials who said the Eritreans had already left.
Thomas-Greenfield, who was speaking at a news conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi late last month, did not provide any evidence or source for the assessment, and Eritrean officials did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Meanwhile, Price said U.S. Ambassador to Sudan, John Godfrey “is engaging Sudanese officials at the highest levels on the release of Ra'uf Abuzaid, the killer of U.S. official John Granville, and that a State Department's senior official will head to Khartoum next week to raise “this critical issue to demand action.”
“We will not relent,” he added.