January 10, 2022

Risch on Biden Call with PM Abiy: What Matters is What Happens Next

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on President Biden’s first call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed:

“Given the devastation caused by Ethiopia's war and its impact on the vital U.S.-Ethiopia bilateral relationship, today’s call between President Biden and Prime Minister Abiy is long-overdue but welcome.

“The Ethiopian government's recent release of several political prisoners and the prime minister's expressed willingness to engage in political dialogue are symbolic gestures that do not go unnoticed. However, the realities of this war remain on stark display for the world as thousands of political prisoners continue to languish in prison, deadly attacks on civilians continue – including through the Ethiopian National Defense Force’s use of drones, and human suffering worsens with unspeakable violence and starvation.

“What happens after today's conversation is what matters. Prime Minister Abiy should act urgently to cease hostilities, including airstrikes on civilian targets, end the humanitarian blockade, release the thousands who remain detained without charge, and advance political dialogue. Similarly, President Biden should continue intensifying U.S. diplomatic efforts toward peace while making good on the countless U.S. promises to hold all actors accountable for obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid and furthering this devastating war. The United States can and should use every tool possible to bring about peace in Ethiopia and prevent the continuation and expansion of this war's horrors.”