The North American nation is a longstanding ally of Ethiopia but has grown increasingly exasperated, with Blinken earlier describing the violence in Tigray as “ethnic cleansing.”
In a phone call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the US Secretary of State Department spokesperson on Monday urged Ethiopia to address what he called an impending humanitarian “disaster” in Tigray, including rising fears of famine.
The US is pressing for troops from neighbouring Eritrea — which first acknowledged a presence in Tigray earlier this month and promised a withdrawal — to pull out “immediately, in full and in a verifiable manner.”
Eritrean soldiers are blocking and looting food aid in Tigray, according to Ethiopian government documents — of which one in particular dated April 23, reveals Eritrean soldiers chased aid workers distributing food aid from various locations in Tigray and looted distribution points, “frightening” beneficiaries who “fled.”
The news further intensifies fears of residual complications in Ethiopia six months after Abiy launched an offensive in the northern Tigray region.
The United Nations said that 1.7 million people in Tigray were displaced at the end of March and that some have begun to die of hunger.
Last week the UN Security Council reached a consensus to issue its first statement on the crisis, voicing “deep concern” over rights violations.