H.R. 6600 US Bill regresses peace initiatives in Ethiopia

H.R. 6600 Bill (Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace, and Democracy Act) passed by the United States Congress threatens to regress the peace initiatives that the government of Ethiopia has been undertaking so far, said the Spokesperson of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Ambassador Dina Mufti.

In an interview with the state media, Ethiopian Press Agency, the Spokesperson underscores that the bill calls for the imposition of sanctions and unwarranted measures against the people and government of Ethiopia “undermining all the positive steps taken to ensure peace in the country”.

Though the Bill needs to be approved by the Senate, it will undermine the peace process and initiatives the Government of Ethiopia has been taking lately if accepted by the U.S. Senate, according to Ambassador Dina.

He also stated that the Bill will also affect negatively the bilateral relations between Ethiopia and the United States. The Bill is not beneficial for the peace process in Ethiopia and it is drafted based on wrong information, according to the Spokesperson.

The proposed Ethiopian Stabilization, Peace and Democracy Act was voted out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Tuesday. It can now be voted on by the full U.S. House. A similar bill is being considered in the Senate.

Specifically the bill would:

– Require the State Department to develop a plan for supporting democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, including plans to combat hate speech online, support accountability measures for atrocities and efforts to buttress a national dialogue;

– Authorize the President to impose sanctions on individuals who undermine negotiations to end the conflict, commit human rights abuses, exacerbate corruption, or provide weapons to any hostile party;

– Suspend all security assistance to the governments of Ethiopia until it ceases offensive operations, takes steps towards a national dialogue, improves protection of human rights, allows unfettered humanitarian access to conflict areas, and investigates allegations of war crimes;

– Require the administration to oppose loans or other financial assistance from international agencies like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea unless for humanitarian purposes until they take steps to end the war and restore respect for human rights>; and

– Require a determination from the State Department concerning allegations of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Ethiopia.