United States Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman is set to conclude his nine-day tour of the region today.
Feltman’s visit has been marked by meetings with Ethiopian officials who focused on violent conflict in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray. Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen sought urgent US action against the separatist Tigray People’s Liberation Front whose battle against the central government has locked Ethiopians into a civil war, displacing hundreds of thousands and placing millions in famine conditions.
Expect the US to act with restraint, doubling down on a policy of conflict resolution through negotiation. Washington has little sympathy for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government who was accused of blocking USAID humanitarian assistance to war-torn areas of Tigray.. With TPLF forces continuing to expand their territory throughout the summer, the Ethiopian government will likely continue to call for all able-bodied citizens to join the army. The central government faces mounting pressure as fighters from the populous Oromiya region have joined forces with the TPLF despite spending three decades as rivals. Meanwhile, Abiy will turn to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a counterweight to US influence signaled by the recent signing of bilateral military financial cooperation deals.
Ali is a Copy-Editor and Analyst on Daily Brief team, contributing regularly to the Daily Brief. He also leads the Foreign Brief Week in Review multimedia team. He focuses on political and development issues in the Middle East and North Africa.