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US "very concerned" over worsening conflict in northern Ethiopia - State Dept.

WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (KUNA) -- The US has said that it is "very concerned" about the worsening conflict in northern Ethiopia and its impact on humanitarian relief efforts.
"We renew our calls on parties to the conflict to end hostilities and for the initiation of talks to achieve a negotiated ceasefire," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement late Tuesday.
He added, "We call on the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) to withdraw its associated military forces immediately from the Amhara and Afar regions.
"At the same time, we renew our calls for the Amhara regional government to withdraw immediately its associated military forces from western Tigray and for the Eritrean Government to withdraw its military forces permanently from Ethiopia," he continued.
He stressed, "All parties should accelerate unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict and the commercial blockade of Tigray must end." Last June saw heavy fighting between Tigrayan and Ethiopian government forces, including Ethiopia's allied forces from its Amhara region.
On June 28, Tigrayan forces recaptured the regional capital, Mekelle, taking thousands of Ethiopian soldiers' prisoner. That same day, the federal government withdrew from Tigray and declared a unilateral ceasefire, citing many reasons including to allow in essential aid. Yet the government kept Tigray shut off after its declaration.
Since late June, Ethiopian authorities have blocked roads into the region, and access is sporadic. Even now, electricity and fuel supplies are rapidly dwindling, communications and banking have been shut down, and access to cash is severely limited, including for aid agencies operating in the region. (end) si.sam