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Ethiopia: Biden opens door for sanctions over Tigray conflict

US President Joe Biden on Friday issued an executive order that allows for sanctions on parties “complicit in prolonging” the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.

The fighting has left thousands of people dead and millions more in need of humanitarian aid. In a press statement announcing the order, President Biden said he was “appalled by the reports of mass murder, rape, and other sexual violence to terrorize civilian populations.”

What does the order say?

The order allows Washington to take punitive actions against individuals in Ethiopian and Eritrean governments, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Amhara regional government if the parties continue to “choose conflict over negotiations to the detriment of the Ethiopian people,” the statement said.

“The sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea, but rather the individuals and entities perpetrating the violence and causing a humanitarian disaster,” the statement continued.

The order establishes a new “sanctions regime targeting those responsible for prolonging the conflict, obstructing humanitarian access or preventing a ceasefire,” it added.

Although no deadline for Ethiopian leaders has yet been set, senior Biden administration officials told news agencies they expected progress on negotiations in the coming weeks.

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