September 17 (WNN) — President Joe Biden on Friday signed an order authorizing economic sanctions against leaders in Ethiopia over fighting in the Tigre region, where the past year’s conflict has pushed Ethiopia to the brink of famine.
Biden’s order does not impose sanctions, but opens the door to financial penalties if Ethiopia’s leader does not take steps to end the fighting soon.
The order identifies the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Tigre People’s Liberation Front and others as potential targets of sanctions. It also calls for a ceasefire in the war-torn region of Africa.
Thousands have been killed and 2 million displaced since fighting began 10 months ago between Ethiopian forces and Tigre fighters who control the country’s northern region.
In recent months, aid to humanitarian workers has been stopped, and some have been harassed and killed. There have also been reports of mass murder and sexual violence against the civilian population.
A White House official said less than 10% of humanitarian aid and supplies for the Tigre region have actually been distributed over the past month.
Biden said in a statement on Friday, “I urge parties to the conflict with leaders across Africa and around the world to stop their military operations to respect human rights, allow humanitarian access and protect them without Come to the negotiating table of preconditions.”
“The Eritrean army must withdraw from Ethiopia. A different path is possible but the leaders must elect to pursue it.”
Biden said the US fully supports mediation efforts through the High Representative of the African Union for the Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo.
“We fully agree with the leaders of the United Nations and the African Union: there is no military solution to this crisis,” Biden said. “These sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea, but at individuals and entities who are perpetrating violence and driving a humanitarian disaster.
“We will continue to work with our partners to address the basic needs of at-risk populations in Ethiopia and the Greater Horn of Africa.”