Ethiopian deputy PM, U.S. envoy discuss situation in northern Ethiopia

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ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen on Thursday met with U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman to discuss current situation concerning the expanding conflict in northern Ethiopia.

Mekonnen, who is also Ethiopia's foreign minister, said that forces loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) have "continued committing atrocities in the Afar and Amhara regions, creating massive humanitarian and economic damages," according to the Ethiopian Government Communications Service.

The deputy prime minister called on the United States to force the TPLF to withdraw its forces from the two regions.

Mekonnen said that humanitarian flights will be allowed in Lalibela and Kombolcha, rebel held areas in the Amhara region.

He also announced the permission for 369 humanitarian aid trucks to enter the Tigray region.

The conflict that erupted a year ago on Nov. 4 in Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray region between forces loyal to the TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), has over the past months spread across neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.

The two officials further discussed the conditions of U.S. nationals across the East African country, according to the Ethiopian Government Communications Service.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said that the African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson's High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, is in Ethiopia as part of the 55-member pan African bloc's efforts to bring peaceful resolution to the conflict. Enditem

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