Govt Criticizes U.S. over Misguided Suspension of Ethiopia from AGOA

ADDIS ABABA – Government said it understands the human rights concerns of the United States Government over the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia, believes it does not warrant the suspension of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

“We believe that such concerns over human rights issues do not warrant the decision of the US to suspend Ethiopia’s privileges over” the AGOA, said the ministry of foreign affairs.

The Ministry also said the decision is “misguided and fails to take into account the commitment of the Government of the U.S. to value the wellbeing of ordinary citizens”.

Government estimates the suspension of the trade deal will affect the livelihoods of more than 200.000 low-income families mostly, women who have got nothing to do with the conflict.

“It will also considerably impair the lives of one million people who engage in the supply chain ecosystem,” the ministry said.

It pointed out what Ethiopians expect from the International community, and the US, in particular, at this time is an “unbiased assessment of the critical situation and supply of the much-needed humanitarian support to affected people”.

“Unjustified intimidation to jeopardize the economic livelihoods of innocent citizens, which we believe is propelled by the enemies of Ethiopia behind the scenes, will not give a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” the ministry added.

The Government of Ethiopia also expressed it “deep dismay” by the failure of the U.S. to properly acknowledge efforts made to address concerns on both the humanitarian aid and human rights issues in connection with the conflict.

“Reducing security checkpoints from 7 to 2, among others, has shown our commitment to address the concerns of the International Community over some bureaucratic hurdles,” the foreign ministry said.

The Federal Government also supported the joint investigation by the UN Human Rights Office and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission(EHRC) into alleged violations of human rights committed in Tigray, it said adding the Government has also been supportive of investigations over the issue by independent domestic institutions.

“Accordingly, punitive measures were taken over perpetrators of atrocities,” the statement reads. “The time calls for concerted efforts from all responsible bodies, both in Ethiopia and abroad, to mitigate the unprecedented challenges posed by the actions of the TPLF.”

“Removing the duty-free arrangement will, by no means, ease up the problem. We, therefore, urge the United States Government to reverse its decision that may only embolden the terrorist group while endangering the aspirations of Ethiopians to extricate themselves out of poverty,” the statement concludes.