Joe Biden executive order allows sanctions on those involved in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict

FILE - Tigrayan forces ride in a truck after taking control of Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, June 29, 2021.

A new executive order signed by U.S. President Joe Biden allows the U.S. Treasury Department to sanction all sides involved in the war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, including the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments.

“The new executive order I signed today establishes a new sanctions regime that will allow us to target those responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict in Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access, or preventing a ceasefire,” Biden said in a statement Friday.

“These sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea, but rather the individuals and entities perpetrating the violence and driving a humanitarian disaster.”

The order allows the agency to impose sanctions if steps are not taken soon to end 10 months of fighting.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Amhara regional government can also be sanctioned.

The previous U.S. attempts to pressure the warring factions, including visa restrictions against Ethiopian and Eritrean officials, have not been successful.

“The United States is determined to push for a peaceful resolution of this conflict, and we will provide full support to those leading mediation efforts, including the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo,” said Biden. “We fully agree with United Nations and African Union leaders: there is no military solution to this crisis.”

The war is threatening the stability of Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country.

The conflict has triggered the world’s largest hunger crisis, leaving millions of people in need of humanitarian aid.

On Thursday, U.S. officials said only 10 per cent of humanitarian supplies for the embattled Tigray region have been allowed to enter the area over the past month.

The U.S. and the United Nations say the trucks transporting essential aid such as food and water to the area have been blocked by Ethiopian troops.

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