US Steps Up Push for Americans to Leave Ethiopia

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The US State Department is increasing its pressure for Americans in Ethiopia to leave the country immediately, amid fears that the country’s internal war is about to escalate.

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At a news briefing on Monday, senior State Department officials said US citizens in Ethiopia must now leave the country, while commercial flight options are still available.

“Our core message is: don’t wait until the situation gets worse until a decision is made to leave; Leave before things change,” said an official on condition of anonymity. “The US embassy in Ethiopia is unlikely to be able to assist with the departure of US citizens if commercial options become unavailable.”

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The official said there are no plans to bring US forces into Ethiopia to facilitate the evacuation, as did the military in Afghanistan recently.

“There should be no hope, especially when we have issued so many warnings that recommend an immediate departure, that the US will be able to facilitate evacuations via military or commercial aircraft in non-permissive environments, including Ethiopia,” the official said. will be able to.”

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Officials said they did not have a firm number of how many Americans are in the East African country.

The federal government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the rebel Tigreyan People’s Liberation Front have been at war for more than a year. On Monday, the prime minister said he would travel to the frontline to lead his troops against advancing rebel fighters who this week claimed control of Shewa Robit, a city 220 kilometers northeast of the capital Addis Ababa. Was.

The US Embassy authorized the departure of non-essential US government employees and family members from Ethiopia on 3 November, and has since repeatedly warned Americans in the country To drop off using commercial flights.

The embassy on Tuesday also warned Americans of the current potential for terrorist attacks in Ethiopia. It urged US citizens “To maintain a high level of vigilance and to avoid areas frequented by foreigners.”

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