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News: US condemns “Eritrea’s reentry” into Ethiopia war, sending Horn envoy to make parties “engage in peace talks”

One of the earliest pictures showing Eritrean forces’ involvement in the Tigray war was captured by Reuters journalist Dawit Endeshaw in March 2021. Caption: “Eritrean soldiers in Shire, and main road Between Mekelle & Shire.” Credit: Dawit Endeshaw.

By Addis Standard Staff

Addis Abeba – The U.S. said it “condemn[s] Eritrea’s reentry” into Ethiopia’s renewed militarized hostilities between the federal defense forces and Tigrayan forces which started on 24 April and has now extended to Ethiopia’s border areas with Sudan.

According to a press briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on 02 September, “President Biden’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Mike Hammer, will travel to Ethiopia starting this weekend to engage on the crisis in northern Ethiopia. Special Envoy Hammer will convey that all parties should halt military operations and engage in peace talks.”  

In addition to its condemnation of “Eritrea’s reentry into the conflict,: the US also condemned “the continuing TPLF offensive outside of Tigray, and the Ethiopian government’s airstrikes.”  

“There is no military solution to the conflict. Prior to renewed hostilities, we were encouraged by five months of humanitarian truce, and are now deeply concerned about the seizure of humanitarian assistance of military use,”  Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, adding “all parties should exercise restraint.  And we urge de-escalation by all actors, particularly so that there can be a resumption of humanitarian relief and basic services to all parties in need.”  

The condemnation from the US government against Eritrea’s involvement in the war is the first confirmation from the international community on the latter’s engagement in the renewed hostilities.

After initial denial of Eritrea’s role in the Tigray war and reports of extreme atrocities committed by Eritrean forces against civilians as “complete lie“, in May 2021, Ethiopia admitted the involvement of Eritrean troops in atrocities against civilians, confirming earlier reports by human rights organizations, including the state backed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), highlighting “grave human rights violations and an attack against civilians in Axum city, Tigray region.”

However, Ethiopia is denying the latest reentry of Eritrea into the reignited militarized hostilities. Speaking to the CNN on 02 September, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the US, Dr. Seleshi Bekele, said, “not at all,” and added, “we don’t have information on that; we hear on social media etc…” The Ambassador also blamed the TPLF of having a “behavior of attracting Eritrea to enter into the conflict…”AS

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