As rebel troops in northern Ethiopia move on Addis Abeba, the US Embassy in Addis Abeba has permitted the voluntary departure of select officials and family members.
The decision came after the US expressed “grave concern” over the escalation of hostilities and urged for a stop to military operations in favor of ceasefire negotiations on Wednesday.
The administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has proclaimed a state of emergency, with soldiers from Tigray’s northern province threatening to advance on Addis Abeba.
The Tigrayan troops are in the Amhara state town of Kemise, 325 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, according to Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The US Embassy issued a statement saying that more escalation was imminent and that it was unsafe to travel to Ethiopia.
Jeffrey Feltman, the United States’ special envoy for the Horn of Africa, is set to arrive in Addis Abeba on Thursday to advocate for a halt to military operations in the north and the commencement of ceasefire negotiations.
Britain advised its people on Wednesday to reconsider their need to remain in Ethiopia and consider leaving while commercial opportunities were open.
The war began a year ago when TPLF-aligned groups, including troops, seized military posts in Tigray.
In response, Abiy dispatched more troops to the northern area.
The TPLF had controlled national politics for over three decades when Abiy seized president in 2018 after years of anti-government rallies.
The TPLF then accused him of concentrating authority at the detriment of Ethiopia’s regional governments, which Abiy disputes.
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