The World Today for July 19, 2023


Moving On


Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed claims that he is remaining neutral in the civil war now raging in neighboring Sudan, according to Deutsche Welle. Ahmed has said that, even though Sudan occupied the Al-Fashaga border region between the two countries when Ethiopia’s central government was waging a war against Tigrayan rebels in the country’s north, he would not meddle in Sudan’s affairs.

Ahmed’s position might reflect savvy diplomacy rather than magnanimity. He is still seeking to influence the war, reported Agence France-Presse. To that end, he recently hosted peace talks between Sudan’s warring factions in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. While the representatives of the Sudanese government didn’t attend, the rebel forces sent delegates. Attendees discussed whether an international peacekeeping force should be deployed to the area – an idea that Sudan rejected, Al Jazeera noted.

Those efforts are likely earnest, but they also have plenty of bearing on how other countries view Ethiopia as Ahmed seeks to rebuild his nation, with most of the fighting related to the Ethiopian civil war that erupted in 2020 having now subsided, as the Council on Foreign Relations explained. The two sides signed a peace deal in November but scattered violence continues.

Ahmed worked hard, for instance, to successfully convince US President Joe Biden that Ethiopia was no longer committing “gross violations of human rights” in the war, wrote the Africa Report. That reassessment was likely a major hurdle to the International Monetary Fund granting Ethiopia a $2 billion loan to help fill an estimated $6 billion budget hole that the country is facing through 2026, according to the Reporter, a local English-language newspaper.

In the meantime, analysts are exhorting the international community not to let Ahmed and Ethiopia off the hook for the human rights violations that government forces committed during the war, Foreign Policy magazine wrote. In the Economist, a headline writer summed up that sentiment with the headline, “War crimes in Tigray may be covered up or forgotten.”

Satellite images, for instance, suggest that Eritrean troops allied with Ethiopia’s central government killed 300 people and burned 60 buildings in two small villages in the Tigray region, the Washington Post reported. Hunger is also a major problem in the region now due to the destruction wrought during the war and an unfortunate drought, Reuters added.

Ahmed, of course, just wants to move on.

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