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Ethiopia – US: How far will the diplomatic escalation go?

By Romain Gras
Posted on Thursday, 1 July 2021 10:15

The US was the first to impose sanctions on Ethiopia. JA editing: ALEX BRANDON/AFP; Mistrulli/Fotogramma/ROPI-REA

At the beginning of his term in office, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was hailed by the international community. However, he has been subjected to strong diplomatic pressure since the beginning of the conflict in Tigray. The US was the first country to impose sanctions on Ethiopia. Will others follow suit?

Will US secretary of state Antony Blinken be able to make Abiy bend to his will? After seven months of conflict in Tigray, the US secretary of state decided to engage in a showdown with the Ethiopian prime minister by announcing, on 23 May, that visa restrictions would be implemented against several officials.

Blinken said these sanctions are aimed at all actors involved, specifically, “Ethiopian or Eritrean government officials, members of the security forces, or other individuals”. But there is no doubt that the most unexpected target is Ahmed’s administration.