GOP spokesman Michael McCall of Texas told CNN on Thursday that “there are enough credible reports from human rights groups and journalists about the continued presence of Eritrean troops and reports that have implicated them and other armed actors in human rights abuses.”
“It is clear that the Ethiopian government and the Eritrean government have not reaffirmed their public commitment to withdraw Eritrean forces from Tigrei. We now have this evidence on camera from CNN.”
McCall and Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have been pushing the Biden administration “urgently to use all available tools, including sanctions and other restrictive measures, to get all perpetrators to be responsible and put an end to this conflict. “
CNN asked the US State Department for comment.
“My question is, what is detention? Six months have passed since the conflict began. The atrocities continue and the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate,” McCall told CNN on Thursday.
He argues that “the Biden administration must take action now to demonstrate that we are serious when we demand responsibility for atrocities.
“The status quo cannot continue in Ethiopia. Countless lives are at stake.”
He spoke several times with Abi about the crisis, recently last month, to pressure Ethiopia and Eritrea to fulfill their commitments to withdraw Eritrean troops “immediately, fully and in a verifiable manner”.
Despite pressure from the Biden administration, there are no signs that Eritrean forces plan to leave the Tigray region soon.
In a joint statement Monday, the two lawmakers said they were “deeply concerned about the failure” of Ethiopia and Eritrea to “honor their public commitments to withdraw Eritrean forces from Ethiopia”.
“The continued presence of Eritrean forces involved in gross human rights abuses in Tigre is a major obstacle to resolving this conflict,” they said.
Parliament’s Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Global Human Rights will hold a hearing later this month on the “impact of sanctions” in Africa.
Amid the humanitarian crisis, the State Department sent its special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeff Feltman, to the region this month. Feltman traveled to Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan in early May, meeting with government officials, the United Nations and the African Union. Next week, he must inform the Senate Foreign Relations Committee behind closed doors.
The United States has sent millions of additional funds to Tigray in response to the humanitarian crisis and has deployed a disaster relief team in the region to the International Development Agency.
The US ambassador to Ethiopia, members of the embassy team and one of President Joe Biden’s key allies, Democratic Senator Chris Koons, visited the region in March.
According to Coons, Abiy is committed to humanitarian access, investigating human rights abuses and withdrawing Eritrean troops.
“Progress has been made on all these fronts, but there is still work to be done. The prime minister has made some important commitments. I will work closely with the Biden administration to make sure these commitments are met,” Koons said.
Jennifer Hansler, Nima Elbagger, Barbara Arvaniditis and Eliza Mackintosh contributed to this report.