Ethiopia is giving us a glimpse of a set of dynamics that could come to shape African life in complicated ways. Last week, the Biden administration announced new sanctions aimed at reducing violence in the Tigray region, where conflict between the forces of President Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has caused massive human rights abuses affecting millions. The sanctions will target all sides of the conflict, including Ethiopia’s neighbour, Eritrea.
China, in the form of Spokesperson Zhao Lijian, decried what he called “the wanton exertion of pressure through sanctions or the threat of imposing sanctions to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.”
This was hardly a surprise, falling in line with China’s general non-interference policy. However, it’s important to point out that this hands-off approach doesn’t reflect a lack of influence in the region, far
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