Addis Ababa June 1/2022/ENA/ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen held talks with US House of Representatives Member Trent Kelly today.

The discussion between the two sides covered measures taken to ensure accountability over human rights abuses in the conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia, supply of humanitarian aid to conflict-affected people, and the undergoing efforts to ensure durable peace in the country, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Trent Kelly said on the occasion that the United States values transparency and openness to strengthen its relations with Ethiopia, reiterating his preference not to support HR6600 and S3199.

Demeke Mekonnen appreciated Trent Kelly for showing interest in Ethiopian affairs and visiting Ethiopia to understand situations on the ground.

He expressed hope that the United States would note the peace building efforts of the Government of Ethiopia and discard the proposed bills that would eventually affect ordinary Ethiopians.

In their discussion on the measures taken to ensure independent investigation and accountability for alleged human rights violations in Tigray,  the deputy premier mentioned concrete steps taken by the government.

He said in order to implement the recommendations of the joint OHCHR-EHRC investigation report, the government had established an inter-ministerial committee comprising high-profile and skilled law enforcement personnel.

As a result, some individuals, including members of the National Defense Force, were prosecuted and brought before justice.

Regrettably, Demeke  noted that the UN Human Rights body decided to rerun the UN-EHRC joint investigation incurring an unnecessary duplication of efforts and undermining the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

The proposed investigative works of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts should have also taken the demands of Ethiopians to investigate the human rights abuses committed by the TPLF in Afar and Amhara regions into account too, he stressed.

Demeke also mentioned the confidence building measures taken by the government to pave the way for dialogue and lasting peace in the country, citing the lifting of the state of emergency before its due date, the release of high-profile prisoners, and the declaration of humanitarian truce.

Demonstrating its commitment to peace, the Government of Ethiopia also decided not to enter the Tigray region after the TPLF forces were pushed back from the areas they had invaded in the Amhara and Afar regions and declared an indefinite humanitarian truce.

Despite all these verifiable measures for peace by the Ethiopian government, the TPLF is preparing for another round of conflict, the deputy premier revealed, calling on the United States of America and the international community to put pressure on the TPLF to renounce its anti-peace activities.

Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, Ambassador Tracey Ann Jacobson, who was present during the discussion, appreciated the proper response of the Ethiopian government in cooperating with humanitarian partners to facilitate access to humanitarian supply to affected people in Tigray, including fuel supply.

She also spoke about the encouraging works of the National Dialogue Commission and the peace initiatives of former Nigerian President  Olusegun Obasanjo, further offering her country’s support whenever necessary.

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