US's Blinken hails 'momentous step' towards Ethiopia peace
"We welcome the momentous step taken in Pretoria today to advance the African Union's campaign to 'silence the guns' with the signing of a cessation of hostilities between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
"We welcome the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance and the protection of civilians that should result from implementation of this agreement," he said.
He hailed the "extraordinary efforts" of African Union mediators including Nigeria's former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Kenya's former president Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa, the host of the talks that involved US envoy Mike Hammer.
The two-year conflict has severely soured relations between the United States and historic ally Ethiopia, with President Joe Biden's administration ending its presence in a major trade pact, citing human rights concerns.
While stopping short of promising a return of Ethiopia to the African Grown and Opportunity Act, State Department spokesman Ned Price said of the agreement with the rebels, "It does present an opportunity – a bilateral opportunity – for the United States and Ethiopia."
Blinken welcomed a statement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who promised to implement the accord.
The United States shares "his desire for an enhanced partnership to support reconstruction and development for all communities in northern Ethiopia affected by the conflict", Blinken said.