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Deputy PM, US Congressman Discuss Human Rights, Aid Delivery

ADDIS ABABA – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen and U.S. congressman Trent Kelly discussed efforts to ensure accountability over human rights abuses in the context of the northern Ethiopia conflict.

The discussion between the two sides also covered the supply of humanitarian aid to conflict-affected people, and undergoing efforts to ensure durable peace in the country, said the Ministry of Foreign affairs (MoFA) in a statement issued after the meeting.

The meeting, attended by Ambassador Tracey Jacobson, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, took place on Wednesday.

According to MoFA, Congressman Kelly said the United States values transparency and openness to strengthen its relations with Ethiopia, reiterating his preference not to support HR6600 and S3199.

Demeke appreciated the Congressman for showing interest in Ethiopian affairs and visiting Ethiopia to understand situations on the ground.

He expressed hope that the United States would note the peacebuilding efforts of the government of Ethiopia and discard the proposed bills that would eventually affect ordinary Ethiopians.

In their discussion on the measures taken to ensure independent investigation and accountability for alleged human rights violations in Tigray, Demeke mentioned concrete steps taken by the government.

He said in order to implement the recommendations of the joint OHCHR-EHRC investigation report, the government of Ethiopia established an inter-Ministerial committee comprising high-profile and skilled law enforcement personnel.

As a result, some individuals, including members of the ENDF, were prosecuted and brought before justice, he said.

Regrettably, he said the UN Human Rights body decided to rerun the UN-EHRC joint investigation incurring an unnecessary duplication of efforts and undermining the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

The proposed investigative works of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts should have also taken the demands of Ethiopians to investigate the human rights abuses committed by the TPLF in the Afar and Amhara regions into account too, he stressed.

Demeke mentioned the confidence-building measures taken by the government to pave the way for dialogue and lasting peace in the country, citing the lifting of the state of emergency before its due date, the release of high-profile prisoners, and the declaration of humanitarian truce.

Demonstrating its commitment to peace, the government of Ethiopia also decided not to enter the Tigray region after the TPLF forces were pushed back from the areas they had invaded in the Amhara and Afar regions and declared an indefinite humanitarian truce, he said.

Despite all these verifiable measures for peace by the Ethiopian government, he said the TPLF is preparing for another round of conflict, calling on the United States and the international community to put pressure on the TPLF to renounce its anti-peace activities.