Blinken 'hopeful' for 'window' to stop Ethiopia war

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With clashes escalating and rebels advancing on the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Washington voiced hope that diplomacy could succeed in halting a deadly war in the African nation (AFP/EDUARDO SOTERAS)
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced hope Wednesday that diplomacy would succeed in halting a deadly war in Ethiopia after major rebel advances.

"I believe that all sides see the dangers of perpetuating the conflict," Blinken told reporters amid efforts by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo as well as US envoy Jeffrey Feltman.

"We are hopeful that, given the important work that president Obasanjo is engaged in -- the efforts that we're making and others who are engaged -- that there is still a window to pull back and to move this to a better place," Blinken said.

He hoped for negotiations to halt the violence and "ultimately to produce a ceasefire, to have access for humanitarian assistance and, over time, to negotiate a more durable political resolution."

The State Department said Blinken spoke by telephone with Obasanjo on Wednesday and offered his "strong support" for his mediation efforts.

Ethnic Tigrayan rebels have moved closer to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa in recent days and joined forces with other armed groups, a year after an offensive in the northern region in response to an attack on the army.

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