US to impose sanctions on Ethiopia is valid
The Biden administration’s patience has snapped with Ethiopia, an important US ally in Africa. Washington imposed visa restrictions this week on as yet-unnamed Ethiopian and Eritrean officials, saying they had “taken no meaningful steps to end hostilities” in a brutal six-month war in the Tigray region. The US also put curbs on economic and security assistance, though humanitarian aid — which accounts for most of the $1bn it spends in Ethiopia each year — will continue.
Addis Ababa has already angrily rejected US sanctions as interference in its internal affairs. Everything must be done to avoid Ethiopia, a country that strategically dominates the Horn of Africa, sliding towards pariah status. It would be a mistake, for example, to end the current IMF programme. Nor should sanctions be deployed to scupper liberalisation of the telecoms sector, a development that could profoundly improve both the economic and political lives of Ethiopia’s 114m people. US has so far imposed on Ethiopia by including asset freezes, had helped prevent war crimes in several African countries.