The United States announced new financial sanctions on Friday in connection with the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, including sanctions imposed against the Eritrean Defense Force.
“Today’s action targets Eritrean actors that have contributed to the crisis and conflict, which have undermined the stability and integrity of the Ethiopian state. The United States is actively working with partners throughout the region and the world to support a negotiated cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia,” said the U.S. Department of Treasury in a statement explaining the sanctions.
“The presence of Eritrean forces is an impediment to ending the ongoing fighting and increasing humanitarian access. Leaders from around the world have repeatedly called for Eritrea to withdraw its forces from Ethiopia.”
The individuals and entities placed under new sanctions also include the Eritrean political party People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, led by President Isaias Afwerki, and Abraha Kassa Nemariam, the head of Eritrea’s National Security Office. Red Sea Trading Corporation and its CEO Hagos Ghebrehiwet W Kidan, along with Hidri Trust, also are named.
U.S. President Joe Biden authorized the use of sanctions against those contributing to Ethiopia’s crisis in September. The new sanctions come ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s visit to Africa, which will begin in Nairobi on Monday, and a recent show of force from U.S. military personnel stationed in neighboring Djibouti and their allies.
Andrea Gacki, the director for the Office of Foreign Assets Control, said the U.S. intends to target those responsible for prolonging the regional crisis.
“Parties to the conflict must come to the negotiating table without preconditions. The United States stands ready to pursue additional actions, including against the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, if there is not tangible progress toward a cessation of hostilities,” said Gacki.
The fighting has continued for more than a year in Ethiopia, where conflict between Tigray leaders and the Ethiopian military in the country’s north has widened to include the Amhara and other Ethiopian ethnic groups as well as Eritrean forces.
Image: U.S. Department of Treasury file