(MENAFN - IANS)
Washington, April 9 (IANS) President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed US concern over the crisis in the Tigray region to Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, the White House said.
In a Wednesday phone call with Mekonnen, Sullivan "expressed the Biden Administration's grave concern about the continued humanitarian and human rights crisis in the Tigray region," the White House said in a statement on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The two discussed critical steps to address the crisis, including expanded humanitarian access, cessation of hostilities, departure of foreign troops, and independent investigations into atrocities and human rights violations, the statement added.
Sullivan and Mekonnen also discussed the importance of continued dialogue among regional leaders, with the support of the African Union, to peacefully resolve current disputes related to the Fashaga border and the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the dam project, while Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for its freshwater, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.
Since September 2020, the Fashaga area along the Sudan-Ethiopia border has been witnessing rising tensions and deadly skirmishes between the two sides. Sudan accuses Ethiopian farmers, backed by armed forces, of seizing Sudanese lands along the border and cultivating them since 1995.
Fighting that erupted in early November last year in Ethiopia's Tigray between the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which used to rule the regional state, and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces has left thousands of people killed and caused immense losses in the region.
According to Ethiopian government figures, the conflict in Tigray has displaced around 2.2 million people, while 4.5 million people are in need of emergency aid.
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