U.S. Envoy to Visit Ethiopia as Rebel Fighters Approach Capital
(Bloomberg) -- A U.S. special envoy is set to arrive in Ethiopia to attempt to de-escalate a civil conflict after rebel fighters captured several key towns on a main route into the capital city.
The scheduled arrival of Jeffrey Feltman on Thursday comes shortly after the government declared a state of emergency and urged residents of Addis Ababa to arm themselves. That followed reports that forces belonging to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Army, a militia group, had taken control of several towns in the Amhara region.
Odaa Tarbi, a spokesperson for the OLA, and the TPLF said Tigray forces had reached the town of Kemise, roughly 203 miles (327 kilometers) north of the capital, Addis Ababa. Feltman’s imminent arrival was confirmed by a U.S. state department spokesman.
Neither the OLA or the TPLF have ruled out marching on Addis Ababa. Feltman has said that the situation in Ethiopia is “dire” and deteriorating.
“Without question the situation is getting worse and we are frankly alarmed by the situation,” he said on a call with reporters Tuesday. “The parties do not seem anywhere near to the point of agreeing to deescalate a negotiated ceasefire and some kind of talks.”
Selamawit Kassa, state minister at the Ethiopian Communication Ministry, didn’t respond to questions sent by text message.
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