News In Brief - September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that imposes sanctions against Ethiopia.

U.S. President Signs Executive Order Imposing Sanctions Against Ethiopia

Last Friday (September 17), President Joe Biden issued a new Executive Order (EO) Imposing Sanctions on Certain Persons with Respect to the Humanitarian and Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia.

The order authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on any foreign person who is involved in corruption or serious infractions of human rights with respect to northern Ethiopia.

The order is meant to put pressure on the Ethiopian parties to start negotiating with various people and end the conflict that led to a crisis in northern Ethiopia, which left 5m people in need of humanitarian assistance and nearly 1m living in famine-like conditions.

The EO enables the Treasury to impose financial sanctions by prohibiting all U.S. firms from providing funds and services to any person that the government blocks by invoking it. The sanctions can also prohibit U.S. financial institutions from making loans or providing credit to the sanctioned person and can ban any transactions in foreign exchange that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and in which the sanctioned person has any interest.

In response to the EO, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Frequently Asked Questions and three licenses which authorize certain organizations and transactions to continue.

“While maintaining pressure on those persons responsible for the crisis, the United States will seek to ensure that appropriate personal remittances to non-blocked persons and humanitarian assistance to at-risk populations can flow to Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa region through legitimate and transparent channels, including governments, international organizations, and non-profit organizations,” the EO says.

The licenses are: Ethiopia General License Number 1 - Official Activities of Certain International Organizations and Other International Entities; Ethiopia General License Number 2 - Certain Transactions in Support of Nongovernmental Organizations' Activities; and Ethiopia General License Number 3 - Transactions Related to the Exportation or Re-exportation of Agricultural Commodities, Medicine, Medical Devices, Replacement Parts and Components, or Software Updates.

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