ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) -Eritrea on Saturday condemned sanctions imposed on its military and other Eritrea-based individuals and entities by the United States a day earlier, calling them a continuation of Washington’s “misguided and hostile policy”.
The information ministry said in a statement the primary aim of the “illicit and immoral sanctions” was to inflict suffering and starvation on the Eritrean people so as to spur political unrest in the Horn of Africa country.
Washington announced the sanctions https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/us-blacklists-eritrea-military-warns-more-action-ethiopia-2021-11-12 on Friday, targeting Eritrea for its role in the year-long war in neighbouring northern Ethiopia. Washington said it was prepared to take action against other parties to the conflict.
War broke out in November 2020 between Ethiopian federal troops and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party of Tigray. Thousands have been killed in the conflict, which has since spread into two neighbouring regions in northern Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s foreign affairs ministry on Saturday called on the United States to rescind the sanctions. It said in a statement that the Ethiopian government does not believe that Eritrea is an impediment to sustainable peace and also urged the United States to impose sanctions on the TPLF, which it said was the real threat to peace.
The U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Eritrea’s military, its ruling political party, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ); the party’s economic adviser; and the head of the Eritrean national security office, accusing them of contributing to the conflict in Ethiopia.
Early in the war, the Eritrean military sent in tanks and troops to aid its Ethiopian ally, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Eritrea has also used the conflict to settle old scores in Tigray, Reuters reported https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/ethiopia-conflict-eritrea this month.
Also on Saturday, the state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission published a report accusing the rebellious Tigrayan forces of killing at least 184 civilians in the Amhara region in July and August and said abuses the forces committed may amount to war crimes.
“TPLF fighters willfully killed scores of civilians in towns and rural areas they captured (and) systematically committed large scale looting and destruction of public and private properties,” the report read.
TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda did not respond to a comment request on the report.
“We have repeatedly reported such violence and atrocities the terrorist group made to our people,” government spokesperson Legesse Tulu said in a text message.
(Reporting by Addis Ababa newsroomWriting by Maggie FickEditing by Frances Kerry)