Ethiopia’s Abiy Urges “Sacrifices” As US Orders Staff Out | Abiy Ahmed News

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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has told Ethiopians that they must be prepared to make “sacrifices” to save the country from rebel forces, as the United States ordered non-emergency government employees to leave Ethiopia.

The year-long fighting between federal government troops and Tigray rebels, who threaten to march on the capital Addis Ababa, has intensified in recent days.

“There are sacrifices to be made, but those sacrifices will save Ethiopia,” Abiy said on Twitter on Saturday.

“We have seen the trials and the obstacles and that made us stronger,” he continued, adding: “We have more allies than the people who turned their backs on us.”

Abiy’s comments came a day after nine groups said that join forces in an alliance built around the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), with the aim of removing the Abiyan government by force or through negotiations.

The government has dismissed the formation of the coalition as a “publicity stunt” and said that most of the groups involved have no momentum.

“For us Ethiopians, dying for our sovereignty, unity and identity is an honor. There is no Ethiopianism without sacrifice, ”the government communication service said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Addis Ababa ordered the departure of its non-essential diplomats on Saturday, a day after advising all US citizens to leave Ethiopia “as soon as possible,” as did several other embassies, including embassies. from Saudi Arabia and Sweden. and Norway.

“Incidents of civil unrest and ethnic violence occur without warning. The situation can become even more serious and can cause shortages in the supply chain, communication cuts and travel disruptions, ”said the US embassy. said on their website on Saturday.

It came after US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, apparently failed to make a breakthrough in his bid to end the fighting during a visit this week to Addis Ababa.

While regional and international efforts are being made in the middle of calls For an immediate cessation of hostilities and talks for a lasting ceasefire, a diplomatic source told Al Jazeera that Ethiopian government officials and the US envoy could not agree on a path to resolve the conflict.

The source said Ethiopia rejected Feltman’s proposal to hold unconditional negotiations with the rebels, as the government considers the TPLF a “terrorist” group and demands the immediate withdrawal of its fighters from the Amhara region without conditions.

The same source added that the US and Ethiopian parties disagreed on the nature of the negotiations, with the latter insisting that it was the one that determined this without interference from outside parties.

Last weekend, the TPLF said it had seized two strategic cities in Amhara, where its fighters had advanced after retaking its stronghold of Tigray in June. He said Wednesday that he had reached the town of Kemissie in Amhara, 325 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of the capital.

The TPLF added that it was conducting “joint operations” with another rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Army, and indicated that it could advance on Addis Ababa. Tigrayan forces say they are pressuring the Ethiopian government to lift a deadly months-long blockade on their region of around six million people, where basic services have been cut off and humanitarian food and aid are denied. medical.

“If marching to Addis is what is needed to break the siege, we will do it,” said TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda.

The Ethiopian government, which declared a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday, has denied any major rebel advance or threat over the capital, vowing to press ahead to victory in “an existential war.”

Abiy spokeswoman Billene Seyoum on Friday accused the rebels of weaving “an alarmist narrative that is creating a lot of tension between different communities, including the international community.”

“This information war and this propaganda that they have been spreading is giving a false sense of insecurity,” he added.

Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, sent troops to Tigray in November 2020 to overthrow the TPLF, which he accused of having attacked military bases. Weeks later, he declared a victory.

By the end of June, the rebels had retaken most of Tigray and expanded into the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions.

The brutal conflict has killed thousands and displaced more than 2.5 million. The United Nations has said that up to seven million people in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions are in need of assistance, including five million in Tigray, where an estimated 400,000 people are living in famine conditions.

The fighting has also exacerbated ethnic rivalries, particularly on social media, where calls for war and hatred abound.

Twitter announced on Saturday that it had temporarily disabled its “trending” section, which groups together the most viral tweets on a topic, for Ethiopia.

The social media giant said it was “focused on protecting the safety of the Twitter conversation,” adding that “inciting violence or dehumanizing people is against our rules.”

Facebook’s parent company Meta said on Wednesday it had removed a post from Abiy calling on Ethiopians to “bury” the rebels.

Following Tuesday’s declaration of the six-month emergency, journalists citing lawyers said that many Tigrayans had been detained.

Authorities say they are only targeting TPLF supporters.

But human rights regulator Amnesty International criticized the emergency measures, calling them “a plan to escalate human rights violations.”

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