Ethiopian Abiy Urges “Sacrifices” As US Orders Personnel To Leave | Abiy Ahmed News

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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told Ethiopians 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 Saturday.

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

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

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

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

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

“Incidents of civil unrest and ethnic violence are occurring without warning. The situation could escalate further and could cause supply chain shortages, communications disruptions and travel disruptions “, the US Embassy She said Saturday on his site

It came after US special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, was apparently unable to take a step forward in his bid to end the fighting during a visit to Addis Ababa this week.

While regional and international efforts are underway between 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 were unable to 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 calls for the immediate withdrawal of its fighters from the Amhara region without conditions.

The same source added that the US and Ethiopian sides have differences over the nature of the negotiations, with the latter insisting that it was the one that brought about this without interference from outside parties.

Last weekend, the TPLF claimed it had taken two strategic cities in Amhara, where its fighters had advanced after recapturing their Tigray rampart in June. On Wednesday he said he reached the town of Kemissie in Amhara, 325 km (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 it could advance on Addis Ababa. Tigray forces say they are pressuring the Ethiopian government to lift a deadly month-long blockade on their region of some six million people, where basic services have been cut and humanitarian and medical aid denied.

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

The Ethiopian government, which on Tuesday declared a state of national emergency, denied any advance or threat from the rebels on the capital, promising to continue to victory in “an existential war”.

On Friday, Abiy’s spokeswoman, Billene Seyoum, 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 are propagating are 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 it accused of attacking military bases. Weeks later, he declared a victory.

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook’s parent company Meta said Wednesday that it had deleted a post from Abiy asking Ethiopians to “bury” the rebels.

After Tuesday’s six-month emergency declaration, reporters citing lawyers said many Tigers were arrested.

Authorities say they are only targeting TPLF supporters.

But the rights supervisory body Amnesty International criticized the emergency measures, calling them “a project for the escalation of human rights violations”.

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