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House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Resolution on Ethiopia

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Press Release

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed an amended version of H.Res. 445, condemning all violence and human rights abuses in Ethiopia and calling for all combatants in the conflict in Northern Ethiopia to cease all hostilities, respect human rights, allow unfettered humanitarian access, and cooperate with independent investigations of credible atrocity allegations.

After the passage of the resolution, Rep. Bass released the following statement, which also reflects in part her remarks during the markup:

“I led this resolution because I want to see a peaceful, negotiated solution to this multifaceted conflict that is complicated by ethnicity, politics, and history.  Initiated in November 2020 by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) attack on the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) in Tigray, to which the ENDF responded, this conflict has expanded to the Afar and Amhara regions as both sides strategically align with other forces.  I fear, without a change in course and a negotiated ceasefire, the conflict will extend to other parts of the country.

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“In September, I led a trip to Ethiopia, where Representative Sarah Jacobs and I met with Prime Minister Abiy, and a cross-section of representatives from government, humanitarian organizations, civil society, youth and the private sector to hear the views of those on the ground and to articulate that the only way forward is negotiated peace while addressing the humanitarian crisis These meetings corroborated reports that all factions to the conflict have interfered with humanitarian efforts and materials, caused human suffering, and created unrest.

“H. Res 445 resolution calls for the end of violence in Ethiopia and an immediate ceasefire between the ENDF-led forces and the TPLF-led forces. It condemns soldiers, rebels, and other actors from all sides committing a myriad of abuses and atrocities, including mass executions, and sexual and gender-based violence, and pillaging of humanitarian aid commodities and urges the Government of Ethiopia to cooperate with independent and transparent investigations of credible allegations of abuse and atrocities.

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“In addition to the resolution, TPLF must end the use of child soldiers, pull its forces from Amhara and end its alliance with OLA-“Shene”, an armed rebel faction of the Oromo Liberation Army.

“The resolution calls for the immediate and unfettered access of humanitarian workers and aid material to relieve the suffering of the displaced and the approximate half-million people facing famine-like conditions. In addition, the ENDF needs to send in at least 100 trucks a day to Tigray. TPLF-led forces should not seize trucks or loot aid commodities to continue their war efforts and should also ensure all aid-bearing conveyances enter and depart Northern Ethiopia unfettered so they are able to return with additional supplies.

“Like some of my colleagues on this committee, I have a large Ethiopian diaspora in my district in California and I’ve tried to hear all sides of this situation and I am fully aware that all stakeholders have a part in contributing to the conflict as all stakeholders must also take part in contributing to a ceasefire and negotiated peace.

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“I want to reiterate that I believe there is no military solution to this conflict, and I am concerned the country is fracturing and will only get worse without national dialogue.  I’m also concerned that Ethiopia is in danger of sanctions from the Administration as well as compromising its ability to participate in AGOA if the violence continues.  This conflict and the resultant humanitarian crisis are eroding Ethiopia’s ability to remain a pillar of the continent and a key contributor to advancing peace and security across the region.  We must turn this situation around.  

“I urge my colleagues to join this bipartisan resolution as we continue to show the people of Ethiopia on the continent and in the diaspora that we support them and are expeditiously looking for a long-term peaceful solution to ending the violence against all Ethiopians.”

The resolution was voted out of committee by voice vote. Read the resolution here.

https://bass.house.gov/media-center

5 Comments

  1. Though Rep. Bass’s press release shows some progress towards the understanding of the real situation in Ethiopia, it significantly falls short in sketching the policy change that could finally enable America to make a positive contribution to the restoration of peace in Ethiopia. In addition to admitting that the TPLF started the war, the press release condemns the use of child soldiers and the atrocities it committed. It also calls upon the TPLF to withdraw from Amhara territory and dissolve its alliance with the Oromo armed group. Despite these progresses, the overall American policy towards Ethiopia remains the same advocacy of a negotiated settlement on the ground that there is no military solution. According to the release, the pursuit of military victory will expand the conflict in other territories, thereby increasing the danger of the fragmentation of the country.

    Clearly, the goal is still to salvage the TPLF by making it part of a governing coalition that would weaken the hands of the Prime Minister and his party. While the greatest threat of the fracturing of Ethiopia comes from the TPLF’s ethnic policy of divide and rule, the attempt to insert it into a governing coalition so as to avoid the fragmentation of Ethiopia is contradictory and highly disingenuous. How can the poison cure the disease it caused? Granted that negotiation is needed to end the military confrontation, the best that America can do is to help contribute to the final demise of the TPLF and the formation of an alternative representation of the Tigrean people.

    Messay Kebede, PhD

  2. Does she know anything about what is going on in Sudan? She must have known something about the current coup before it took place. Or is she deemed unreliable(not to be trusted yet) to be shared with some confidential? What is going on over there in Khartoum Rep. Karen? I read news that civilians in the government there are toast. You should have known or at least got a wind of it. What? Somebody here said Abiy engineered it. Abiy is have tough time even defending Dessie let alone concoct a coup thousands of miles away. He is watching his own smart aleck generals. Poor boys!!!!!

  3. Why are they (USA leaders) shying to condemn TPLF gang’s plundering of aid resources as well as unreleased humanitarian aid transporting trucks that the TPLF gangs are using to move their fighters? Still U.S stands are not clear. No one knows these brainless TPLF better than Ethiopians; Frankly speaking, we choose to be lead by pigs than TPLF restored to power. Even grasses & every living creature residing in Ethiopia hates these Mafia group. It’s is good for nothing.

  4. @ Dear Dr. Messay Kebede,

    All I would like to say is THANK YOU so much for taking the time to uncover the goal of politicians, the long and short term policy of the current US gov for Ethiopia and the soft yet powerful method to keep the TPLF leaders on power in the name of national unity, negotiations, peace, humanitarian aid and so on. I am all for negotiations and it must happen but not, NOT with the current TPLF leaders.
    I found your post well thought, very matured and powerful yet simple to read and understand. This is how most Ethiopian elites need to write. (Not long sophisticated easy to point out the core message). There is a place for that type of writing – educational institutions.

    Best Regards,

  5. Dear Congresswoman Bass,

    First of all thank you for your service to this Blessed country who we all called home. It has sheltered us from despots that chased out of the country that produced us and gave us opportunities we dreamed of. The old country and USA go back for more than 100 years in their friendly relationship and it is in my daily prayers that such relationship will continue to flourish for centuries to come. But I’m worried now that history may repeat itself with what took place in 1977-78. The deceased Soviet Union is now replaced by two despots in Moscow and Beijing. They are doing everything in their sleeves to yank away the old country into their servile congregation. USA should maintain its foothold in that country should never allow itself to be just an on-looker. It should not commit any avoidable mistake in dealing with the current Abiy administration. The situation there is close to dire and Abiy’s administration was handed a mandate by more than 95% of the voters to keep the country intact. PM Abiy is faced with seemingly insurmountable chaos left behind by Debre and his predecessors. Debre and cabals created a de facto government in their region that refused to go by the constitution in place. They went ahead and held a region wide election not sanctioned by the National Election Board. Just mind you if Northern California just went all lily and declared a de facto state? What will the federal government here do if that de facto state starts creating and arming a massive force? What will the president and congress do if such de facto state suddenly attack a military base in California? I can predict what the federal government will do but I know that you know what resolution you and your colleagues will pass in the congress. Just look at what Debre and his cabals are doing. By all indications they want their fellow citizens kept underfed so to force them into their killing machine. They believe famine is their asset. They want their able bodied citizens to have two and only two options. The first one is staying at home and die of agonizing deaths from starvation and the alternative is to join their fighting force and die trying. They will never allow an independent body let alone the legitimately elected federal government to go in there and distribute the desperately needed food aid. I will give you another scenario. Let’s say the aforementioned de facto state in Northern California faces food crisis and it refuses the federal government to go in there and distribute food aid. What will you and your colleagues do in the congress? Worse yet, you will be told off by EU and the UN and they want to do the delivery and distribution in the de facto state of the lily in Northern California. Not you but them only! They will be joined by CNN, BBC, AP, AFP and the gang demonizing you as bloodthirsty administration. I am sure you have thought about that. I can’t even start to imagine that you now believe the late President Eisenhower was wrong in sending the 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas on that fateful and historic day September 24, 1957. Should the president have been impeached for invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act? Was he wrong? But he did the right thing because that was one of the duties he was mandated with when almost 35 million citizens(57.4% of the total votes) voted him into the White House. Those airborne guys were not playing games when they showed up in Little Rock, Arkansas. They did not go there bare handed just to play hooky on AWOL. Nuff said about that!!! Meanwhile, I noticed you like to say ‘I’ so many times and it reminded me the conversation Mrs. Joan Levias had with school principal Joe Louis Clark in this 1989 clip. She went “I! I! I! It is always I!” Here is one of my most favorite clips in biographical movies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLmBEkp7WTo&ab_channel=BrettDove

    Again thank you for your valuable service to Good Ole USA!!!

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