AGOA.. US action expected due to human rights violations in Ethiopia

Senior US administration officials have said that Ethiopia will lose opportunities to benefit from a lucrative US trade program due to human rights violations, if it does not take important steps towards ending the ongoing conflict and alleviating the consequences of the humanitarian crisis before next year.

US President Joe Biden sent a letter to Congress, on Tuesday, stressing that Ethiopia has not adhered to the requirements of Article 104 of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), noting that there are “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

The AGOA Act is legislation approved by Congress in May 2000, to help the economies of Africa, improve economic relations with the United States, and open American markets to the goods of those countries, including Ethiopia.

The network quoted a ” CNN ” news for US officials as saying that Biden administration plans to impose broad sanctions, under an executive order, on those involved in the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia.

A senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, called on the Addis Ababa government “to take urgent steps by ensuring an end to all serious human rights abuses, allowing unimpeded access for international human rights monitors, and removing obstacles to humanitarian relief operations.”

He added: “We urge all parties to stop the military operations that cause extensive loss of life and threats to civilians and to sit down to the negotiating table without preconditions.”

On the other hand, the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration announced in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed by the threat to withdraw from AGOA, which is currently being considered by the US government.”

“These measures will reverse the significant economic gains in our country and will negatively affect women and children,” the statement said.

“Ethiopia will continue to make every effort to correct any unintended mistakes,” the ministry added, adding that “this decision must be reversed by January 1, 2022 and we urge the United States to support our ongoing efforts to restore peace and the rule of law, not punish our people who are facing rebel forces trying to overthrow our government.” democratically elected.

She added, “The government takes all allegations of human rights seriously, we look into them and conduct investigations and we are committed to ensuring accountability and accountability.”

In an opinion piece published in Foreign Policy last month, Ethiopia’s chief trade negotiator, Mamo Mehreto, argued that “disqualifying AGOA will only exacerbate the situation of ordinary Ethiopians unrelated to the Tigray conflict,” including women and low-income workers.

For his part, US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, said in a press statement: “With the war approaching its first anniversary, the United States and others cannot continue relations with the government of Ethiopia.”

He continued, “The extraordinary partnership we have enjoyed is not sustainable, while the military conflict continues to expand, threatening the stability and unity of one of the most influential countries in Africa.”

Regarding the suspension of Ethiopia’s participation in AGOA, Feltman said, “The United States has not wanted to do this and we have been monitoring your behavior by the Ethiopian government for months…and they have little time to prevent us from moving forward with disqualification in January.”

Feltman, whose visit the Ethiopian government refused to visit last month, said he was ready to travel to Ethiopia, calling on all parties to the conflict to stop hostilities.

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