US pleads urgent action in phone call to Ethiopia

The United States says it is concerned about conflicts in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromia regions, and has appealed for political dialogue to end them.

In a call with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for human rights to be protected.

According to an independent monitoring group called the Ethiopia Peace Observatory, there have been at least 26 separate clashes in the Amhara region between members of a paramilitary force and government troops in the last fortnight.

An operation to disband the regional force has been strongly opposed, leading to widespread violence.

In Oromia there have been further outbreaks of violence between the military and the rebel Oromo Liberation Army.

In his call with Ethiopia’s prime minister, Mr Blinken also discussed the possibility of resuming food aid to Ethiopia. The US and the UN suspended it five months ago amid accusations of theft.

There have been reports of hundreds of people dying due to starvation in the northern Tigray region.

An ongoing internet shutdown in Ethiopia’s conflict areas has made it difficult to get real-time information.

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