Diplomats flee Ethiopia as Tigray guerrillas watch Addis Ababa
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency after Tigrayan rebels captured strategic towns and advanced to the capital, Addis Ababa.
Prime Minister Abiy rallied his compatriots to “take up arms and defend” Addis Ababa against the rebels.
He was quoted as saying that the public should use “all kinds of weapons to block the destructive TPLF, topple it and bury it”, adding: “Dying for Ethiopia is a duty (for) all of us”.
Airlines were now full as worried diplomats and expatriates flew out of Addis Ababa.
The United States issued a chilling travel warning on November 2, stating that “Ethiopia’s security environment has deteriorated dramatically over the past few days with a continued escalation of armed conflict and civil unrest in Amhara, Afar. and Tigray ”.
He added: “A significant portion of the A2 highway connecting Addis Ababa to northern cities has been restricted by federal authorities, resulting in disruption, stranded travelers and a generally unauthorized travel environment.”
U.S. Embassy staff are currently prohibited from traveling outside the city limits of Addis Ababa.
The US government has strongly suggested that US citizens seriously reconsider their travel to Ethiopia and that those currently in Ethiopia consider preparing to leave the country.
The rebels announced on Sunday the capture of Kombolcha and Dessie, who are located on the main road leading to Addis Ababa.
The rapid advance of the rebels stunned the international community.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted: “The United States is alarmed by reports of the TPLF takeover of Dessie and Kombolcha. Continued fighting prolongs the severe humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia. All parties must stop military operations and begin ceasefire negotiations without preconditions. “
The conflict pits government forces against the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), which dominated national politics before it came to power.
Abiy accuses the rebels of having started the war last November with attacks on federal army camps.
However, Abiy has been criticized for war crimes in the Tigray region, allying with Eritrean dictator Isaias Afwerki to wage a war in Tigray and refusing to hold peace talks with the TPLF.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden on Tuesday issued an executive order ending the designation of Ethiopia, Guinea and Mali as beneficiary countries in sub-Saharan Africa under the Growth Act and opportunities in Africa (AGOA).
AGOA has given Ethiopia duty-free access to the country’s textiles, clothing, footwear, leather and other products.
Biden accused Ethiopia of “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights”.
Under AGOA, Ethiopia’s exports to the United States increased from US $ 29 million in 2000 to US $ 525 million in 2020.
The removal of AGOA privileges threatens millions of jobs in Ethiopia.
Angesom Gebre Yohannes, president of IndustriALL affiliate, the Industrial Federation of Textile, Leather and Clothing Workers Unions (IFTLGWTU) recently said: “If the benefits of AGOA cease, workers will be severely affected. The factories, which include the PVH plant in the Hawassa Industrial Park which exports primarily to the United States, will be forced to close and workers will lose their jobs.
The textile, clothing, footwear and leather sector has created more than 200,000 direct jobs and more than a million indirect jobs which are today threatened.
Ethiopia’s industrial policies have prioritized export-based manufacturing, seen as having the potential to create jobs for hundreds of thousands of young workers.