U.S. senators call for end of war in Ethiopia in letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

United States senators have called for an end of hostilities
in Ethiopia in a letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali they sent
ahead of peace talks in South Africa.

The senators included Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking
member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.),
and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, along with Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin
(D-Md.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Coons
(D-Del.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

In their bipartisan letter sent on Sunday, the senators
welcomed the government of Ethiopia’s decision to participate in peace talks in
South Africa and urged a cessation of hostilities and unfettered humanitarian
access ahead of, and for the duration of, the negotiations. 

“The surge of violence in the last few weeks is the latest
tragic chapter in a war that has had a devastating human toll,” wrote
the senators. “Since the start of the conflict in November 2020, an
estimated 2.5 million civilians have been displaced, and approximately 500,000

The senators noted how the collapse of the five-month
humanitarian truce halted crucial aid from being delivered to 5.2 million
people in need – including large numbers of women and children. In August, the
United Nations warned that one out of every three Tigrayan children under the
age of five in northern Ethiopia is acutely malnourished. Throughout Ethiopia,
20 million people are food insecure. 

“Too many lives have already been lost in this
conflict, and in conflict throughout the country. We are hopeful that the
AU-led talks will signal an end to the violence that has ravaged northern
Ethiopia for two years and pave the way for holding those responsible for human
rights abuses and atrocities to account. A peaceful resolution to the conflict
is imperative and we urge you to facilitate this critical step toward peace by
immediately ceasing hostilities,” they concluded.