Blinken absolved TPLF from crimes against Humanity and ethnic cleansing while it accused Eritrean forces, Ethiopian Defense Force and Amhara region forces
Days after visiting Ethiopia, United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, on Monday issued statement-making accusations that war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing have happened.
Anthony Blinked said, “After careful review of the law and the facts, I have determined that members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces, and Amhara forces committed war crimes during the conflict in northern Ethiopia.”
The accusation that Blinken made against forces outside of TPLF has multiple layers. It accused the Eritrean Defense Force, Ethiopian Defense Force and Amhara forces of committing crimes against humanity including murder, rape, sexual violence and persecution.
And then it went on to single out Amhara forces in connection with alleged “crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer and committed ethnic cleansing in western Tigray.”
When he visited Ethiopia last week, Blinken met with former TPLF spokesperson, Getachew Reda, who emerged as an interim President of the transitional administration in Tigray.
With regard to what the U.S. wants to happen in Ethiopia, Blinken’s statement said
“We welcome the commitment that the parties to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement have made to acknowledge the atrocities committed and their devastating consequences. We urge all parties to follow through on their commitments to one another and implement a credible, inclusive, and comprehensive transitional justice process. We additionally call on the Government of Eritrea to ensure comprehensive justice and accountability for those responsible for abuses in Ethiopia.”
Eritrea’s and Ethiopia’s rejected the statement
The Eritrean government has released a statement in response to the accusations that the United States made against Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Eritrean government called Mr. Blinken’s statement “unsubstantiated and defamatory.” For Eritrea, the latest statement from the United States represents “an embodiment and continuation of unwarranted hostility and demonization that US Administrations have pursued against Eritrea since 2009 to advance their ulterior political agendas.”
Furthermore, Eritrea said that the purpose of Mr. Blinken’s statement is to “blackmail and intimidate” Eritrea and Ethiopia. It also saw it as something that could embolden the TPLF “to create further chaos.”
The Eritrean government statement also recalled that it was the TPLF that caused the war.
“The devastating war occurred because the TPLF launched premeditated, extensive and coordinated military assaults against Ethiopia’s Northern Command, killing more than 3000 soldiers in its initial blitzkrieg. TPLF’s war plans included massive long-range missile attacks against Eritrea in its initial phase alone, in violation of fundamental tenets of international law,” it said.
Another key point that Eritrea mentioned in the statement it released is that the U.S. government downplayed crimes committed by the TPLF group.
It said, “…the litany of TPLF’s crimes, including massive and forcible recruitment of tens of thousands of children in its human wave assaults in the Afar and Amhara Regions of Ethiopia, are too many to be recounted here. But they were deliberately downplayed and glossed over as US overarching objective remained salvaging the TPLF under all circumstances.”
Despite a lack of assertive language and tone like the statement from the government of Eritrea, the Ethiopian government has released a rather diplomatic-sounding statement in response to the statement from Anthony Blinken.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the U.S. statement does not have any new findings. Ethiopia’s weighed U.S. new claims on the basis of a joint investigation by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-OHCHR).
“The government of Ethiopia does not accept blanket condemnations contained in the statement [Blinken’s statement] and does not see any value in such a unilateral and adversarial approach,” said the statement from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ethiopian statement also highlighted that the statement was “selective,” “untimely” and “inflammatory.” But Ethiopia’s statement did not explicitly say that the U.S. has absolved the TPLF from crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
It rather said that the U.S. statement “appears to exonerate one party from certain allegations of human rights violations such as rape and other forms of sexual violence despite clear and overwhelming evidence about its culpability.”
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