US Senate passes the Ethiopia Peace and Stabilisation Act

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  • The Ethiopia Peace and Stabilisation Act of 2022 was approved by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week.
  • The Act provides tools to hold all parties in conflict accountable for atrocities and the humanitarian crisis.
  • The Ethiopian government has opened airspace over Tigray and a road into the region for humanitarian aid.

The mini truce in Ethiopia has been welcomed by the international community, but it was not enough to stop the United States Senate from passing the Ethiopia Peace and Stabilisation Act of 2022.

Earlier this week, with the support of the Foreign Relations Committee, the bill sailed through the US Senate.

US Senator Jim Risch said: "The conflict in Ethiopia has shifted since we first introduced this important bill, but the core issues remain the same. This bill provides the tools to hold all parties to this conflict accountable for the many atrocities committed and a deadly humanitarian crisis. This legislation also focuses on the role of disinformation and foreign actors in this war, which have increased its lethality and persistence."

EXPLAINER | A truce in Ethiopia - does it make peace more likely?

Risch stressed that while there was slight progress made towards a peace settlement, there was a long way to go and the legislation would come in handy.

"Not all parties to the conflict have signed on to the ceasefire or agreed to come to the negotiating table, and the road to national reconciliation for Ethiopia is long. This legislation sends a strong message that Congress is still serious about accountability and resolving the conflict," he said.

The Ethiopian government, due to an international outcry, opened up its airspace as well as a road leading to Tigray for the delivery of aid for a week.

In a statement, the Government Communication Services (GCS) said the regime allowed, "a full week of air transportation to several international humanitarian aid organisations, accordingly, "pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, money, and nutrition supplements".

The aid should be transported, "as much as possible," since the cut-off region faced a severe humanitarian crisis after almost 17 months of the war, with the United Nations estimating five million people were in need of urgent aid.

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The Ethiopian government also said the World Food Programme (WFP) was allowed to transport 43 trucks carrying food aid through Abala Road.

However, there were claims that the passage of the trucks was delayed by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPFL) militants out of mistrust.

While America had put in place sanctions, China sent its newly appointed envoy to the Horn of Africa, Xue Bing, to meet regional leaders.

On his week-long visit to the Horn of Africa in March, he engaged Ethiopia on peace and stability issues and Ethiopian authorities agreed to host a Chinese-backed first peace conference.

Xue Bing told journalists that the conference was a chance for African countries to resolve its issues without external interference from the West.

Chinese state-owned Global Times quoted Xue Bing as saying China's approach toward the region was to find peace through economic development.

"The Horn of Africa sits on an important location, with a large population and huge development potential. Regional peace and stability are of great significance to its peace, stability, development, and prosperity," he said.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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