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US backs Obasanjo’s Ethiopia peace efforts

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A move by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in mediating between the government of Ethiopia and rebel forces has gotten the backing of the United States.

Recall that rebel forces have been in an ongoing war with the government for almost a year.

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The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, spoke with Obasanjo, the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, on Wednesday, on the urgent need for a halt to all military operations, negotiations on a cessation of hostilities without preconditions, and unhindered humanitarian access.

Fighters from Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray and their allies are pressing south toward the capital, Addis Ababa, after driving government troops from Tigray in June.

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After a year of conflict that has left thousands dead, forced more than two million people from their homes and pushed parts of the country into famine, the tide of the civil war in Ethiopia has shifted heavily in favor of the rebel forces.

A statement by the spokesman to the Secretary of State, Ned Price, said Blinken expressed concern that the bellicose rhetoric on all sides of the conflict risks fueling intercommunal violence.

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It stated, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo today (Wednesday). Secretary Blinken expressed the strong support of the United States for President Obasanjo’s efforts to mediate among the parties to the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia.

“The Secretary and President Obasanjo discussed the urgent need for a halt to all military operations, negotiations on a cessation of hostilities without preconditions, and unhindered humanitarian access. The Secretary expressed his concern that the bellicose rhetoric on all sides of the conflict risks fueling intercommunal violence.”

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