Ethiopia Responds to U.S. Move to Restrict Visas

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia said on Monday it will not sit down and negotiate with TPLF as western countries continue to exert effort to resuscitate the organization, which lawmakers labeled as a terrorist entity. 

The statement came a day after the US called the parties involved “in the conflict in Tigray have taken no meaningful steps to end hostilities or pursue a peaceful resolution of the political crisis”.

The United States has also imposed visa aid restrictions on Ethiopia while calling for the international community to take action in a conflict.

In a statement on Monday, the Ministry of foreign Affairs explains Ethiopia attaches “great importance to its historic and friendly” relationship with the United States which has stood the test of time.

“That is why the government finds it extremely regrettable that the implications of the visa restrictions and other related measures taken earlier will seriously undermine this longstanding and important bilateral relationship,” the ministry said.

The ministry called the Joe Biden administration’s tendency to treat the Government of Ethiopia “on an equal footing with the TPLF,” which was designated as a terrorist organization by the House of Peoples’ Representative two weeks ago.

“There is nothing more revealing than this to understand the misguided approach by the administration,” the ministry of foreign affairs.

Ethiopia’s government has come under increasing pressure from the US since Joe Biden came to power, with its officials issuing a statement denouncing the government almost on a daily basis on what’s happening in Tigray.

Addis Ababa said the government has been consciously working to promote national dialogue through a series of engagements to resolve the issue.

It is doing so “not because it was pushed from outside, but because it believes that this is the right thing to do to build the necessary national consensus in the country and chart out a better way forward,” the Ministry said.

“But it should be understood that the government cannot be compelled to sit down and negotiate with the TPLF, which has already been labeled as a terrorist organization, and any sort of attempt to resuscitate the terrorist group would be counterproductive and untenable,” it added.

The ministry, yet again, said the attempt by the U.S. administration “to meddle in its internal affairs, is not only inappropriate but also completely unacceptable”.

“Ethiopia should not be told how to run and manage its internal affairs,” it said.

‘U.S.’s Move undermines Progress’

As far as alleged human rights abuses committed in the Tigray region are concerned, the Ethiopian government is fulfilling its commitment to hold those responsible accountable, according to the ministry.

Last week, the Federal Attorney General’s Office announced the outcome of its investigative work and the important steps taken towards ensuring accountability and justice.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have already embarked on their joint independent investigation.

Similar investigations are ongoing by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) upon the invitation of the Ethiopian government.

Furthermore, the ministry said the government has not only demonstrated its willingness and commitment to work with the international community to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Tigray, but it has also provided full and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to operate in all parts of the region.

“It’s been doing all it can by mustering its meager resources and that of partners to reach out to all people in dire need of urgent assistance,” it said. “The humanitarian actors operating on the ground know full well that the challenge at hand is related to issues of capacity and additional resources and not so much about access.”

Ethiopia has held series of engagements with international partners, including the U.S., and its officials believe tangible progress made in addressing some of the prevailing challenges”.

Despite this, officials said the latest US’s latest decision to impose visa restrictions and other measures “is not only regrettable but will also seriously harm and undermine the constructive spirit of engagement”

“If such a resolve to meddle in our internal affairs and undermine the century-old bilateral ties continues unabated, the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia will be forced to reassess its relations with the United States, which might have implications beyond our bilateral relationship,” it added.

The Ministry also said the government will not be deterred by the decision of the U.S. administration and will continue “its relentless efforts to overcome current challenges and lead the country on the path of lasting peace and prosperity”.

“No doubt, the task ahead is daunting, but with the support and unity of our people, we remain confident that we shall overcome our difficulties and realize the hopes and aspirations of generations of Ethiopians for a peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia,” the statement concludes.