US allows embassy staff to leave Ethiopia as conflict escalates

Ethiopia declares state of emergency as rebels from Tigray threaten to advance on the capital.

The move comes after the United States said it was “gravely concerned” about the expansion of hostilities in Ethiopia. (PA)

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has authorized the voluntary departure of non-urgent government personnel and their families due to the armed conflict in Ethiopia.

“On November 3, the (State) Department authorized the voluntary departure from Ethiopia of non-emergency US government employees and their families due to armed conflict, civil unrest and possible shortages supply, ”the embassy said. its website Thursday.

The move came after the United States said on Wednesday it was “gravely concerned” about escalating violence and expanding hostilities in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, with rebels in the northern Tigray region threatening to advance on the capital, Addis Ababa.

The government has denied the rebels’ claims, but declared a nationwide state of emergency and ordered residents of Addis to prepare to defend their neighborhoods.

UN: all parties commit “extreme” abuses in the Tigray War

Failure of diplomacy

Efforts to calm escalating tensions in Ethiopia have so far failed as Ethiopian government officials and leaders of the Tigray rebel group refuse to speak.

Instead, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called on citizens to rise up and “bury” the Tigray forces.

The lack of dialogue “was particularly worrying,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement on Thursday.

In Washington, the US State Department announced the dispatch this week of Jeffrey Feltman, special envoy for the Horn of Africa, to the country in a new attempt to break the deadlock.

Feltman is due to hold talks Thursday and Friday to urge “all Ethiopians to commit to peace and grievance resolution through dialogue,” he said.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokesman Billene Seyoum did not immediately respond on Thursday when asked if he would meet with Feltman.

READ MORE: Facebook drops Ethiopian PM’s post for “dehumanizing rhetoric”

Source: TRTWorld and agencies