World Ethiopia denounces 'destructive' rebel alliance as war widens
Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict
President Biden on Friday will sign an executive order empowering the Treasury and State departments to sanction Ethiopian and Eritrean government officials engaged in military conflict in Ethiopia, in a bid to pressure warring parties in the Tigray region to move toward a ceasefire. "This action provides the Department of Treasury working in coordination with the Department of State the necessary authority to impose sanctions against those in the Ethiopian government, the Eritrean government, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, and the Amhara regional government if they continue to pursue military conflict over meaningful negotiations to the detriment of
Ethiopia denounced Thursday a "destructive alliance" unveiled this week between rebels from war-torn Tigray and a group from Oromia, the country's largest region.
The Oromia group -- which calls itself the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) but which federal officials refer to as OLF-Shane -- went public with the purported alliance on Wednesday, telling AFP "the agreement is at a very early stage".
"It is based on the mutual understanding that (Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's) dictatorship must be removed," spokesman Odaa Tarbii said.
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"At this point, we share intel and coordinate strategy."
The Tigray rebels, known as the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), could not be reached to confirm the agreement or describe its terms.
At a press conference Thursday, Abiy's spokeswoman Billene Seyoum noted that lawmakers in May formally designated both the OLA and the TPLF terrorist organisations.
"This is not surprising for the federal government," Billene said of reports the two groups were joining forces.
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"The government has been indicating for over two years now that the TPLF has been using Shane as errand runners for their destructive mission," she said.
The two groups have acknowledged they "are working in unison leading towards destructive activities against the stability of the nation and that terrorism is a general feature of both," she added.
Ethiopia to world leaders: Be 'constructive' on Tigray
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ethiopia told the international community Saturday to steer clear of sanctions and avoid meddling over its war with forces from its Tigray region, and to let the African Union work on bringing all parties together. Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders, Deputy Prime Minster Demeke Mekonnen defended his country's conduct in the 10-month-old war. “Prescriptions and punitive measures never helped improve situations or relations,” he said, less than 10 days after the United States threatened to impose sanctions against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other leaders if they don’t take steps soon to stop the fighting.
The OLA, believed to number in the low thousands, broke off from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an opposition party that spent years in exile but was allowed to return to Ethiopia after Abiy took office in 2018.
Abiy's government has blamed the OLA for a number of recent massacres targeting ethnic Amharas, the country's second-largest group, though the militants have denied responsibility.
- 'All means necessary' -
Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by conflict since November when Abiy, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, sent troops to topple the TPLF, then the ruling party of the northernmost Tigray region.
He said the move came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.
But while Abiy promised a swift victory, more than nine months later the TPLF has made advances into the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions, while aid workers struggle to reach cut-off populations, with 400,000 people facing famine-like conditions in Tigray, according to the UN.
The TPLF, which dominated national politics for nearly three decades before Abiy took office in 2018, has said it is not seeking to reclaim power at the national level and is instead focused on "degrading" pro-government troops and trying to facilitate access to Tigray.
On Tuesday Abiy's office issued a statement calling for "all capable Ethiopians who are of age" to join the armed forces as the conflict escalates.
Billene said Thursday the message of the statement was that "the government and the people of Ethiopia together will deploy all means necessary to prevent the terrorist TPLF from spiralling the country into further instability".
Ethiopia's PM sworn in for a second term as war spreads .
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in for a second five-year term running a country in the grip of a nearly year-long war. Abiy’s Prosperity Party was declared the winner of parliamentary elections earlier this year in a vote criticized and at times boycotted by opposition parties but described by some outside electoral observers as better run than those in the past. The prime minister, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner for restoring ties with neighboring Eritrea and for pursuing sweeping political reforms, now faces major challenges as war in the Tigray region spreads into other parts of the country, deadly ethnic violence con