The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected the press statement issued by the US Secretary of State Mr. Antony J. Blinken yesterday regarding Tigray regional state.
“An attempt by the U.S. to make pronouncements on Ethiopia’s internal affairs and specifically, the reference to the Amhara regional forces redeployment in the press statement, is regrettable,” the statement said.
“It should be clear that such matters are the sole responsibility of the Ethiopian government, which as a sovereign nation, is responsible to deploy the necessary security structures and means available in ensuring the rule of law within all corners of its borders,” it added.
Read the full statement issued by MoFA below:
(PRESS RELEASE) On the US Statement on the Situation in the Tigray Region
The Government of Ethiopia’s prevailing focus and priority has been and still is to effectively respond to the humanitarian situation in the Tigray region. In doing so, it continues to collaborate and coordinate its actions with international partners to reach out to every person in need.
It should be noted that the Ethiopian government thus far is covering 70% of the assistance from its resources, while the remaining 30% is shared by development partners and NGOs. So far, the ongoing relief efforts have reached out to more than three million people. Priority is being given to people in vulnerable situations, particularly for women and children.
With the significant improvement in the security situation in the region, the government has now allowed unfettered access to humanitarian actors. It has also put in place an expedited clearance system to remove the bureaucratic hurdles in securing the necessary permits to operate in the region.
The United States is gravely concerned by reports of atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. We strongly condemn the killings, forced removals, sexual violence, and other violations of human rights. The international community must work together to prevent further atrocities.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 28, 2021
Accordingly, the World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, David Beasley, has confirmed the important progress that has been made in the humanitarian response, while also underscoring the need to do more. The international community needs to respond to his urgent appeal for more resources to scale up the ongoing relief operations, instead of continuously lamenting the dire humanitarian situation in the region.
On the other hand, the Ethiopian government has made its position unequivocally clear concerning human rights abuses and crimes allegedly committed in the Tigray region.
The government of Ethiopia takes its responsibility for the safety, security, and well-being of all Ethiopian citizens very seriously. That is why it is fully committed to undertake thorough investigations to get to the bottom of the issue and bring perpetrators to justice.
In this connection, the government not only welcomed the support of international human rights experts but also signaled the possibility of collaboration on joint investigations with the relevant human rights bodies.
Therefore, the government has shown its determination to engage positively and constructively by responding to the two major requests of the international community, i.e., unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and independent investigation into the alleged human rights violations and crimes committed in the Tigray region.
These are also the main issues raised by the US Secretary of State, Mr. Antony J. Blinken in his press statement issued on 27 February 2021.
However, an attempt by the US to make pronouncements on Ethiopia’s internal affairs and specifically the reference to the Amhara regional forces redeployment in the above-mentioned press statement is regrettable.
It should be clear that such matters are the sole responsibility of the Ethiopian government, which as a sovereign nation is responsible to deploy the necessary security structures and means available in ensuring the rule of law within all corners of its borders.
The Ethiopian government, like any government of a sovereign nation, has in place various organizing principles in its Federal and regional structures which are solely accountable only to the Ethiopian people. The Federal Government is mandated by the Constitution to ensure peace and security against any threats to the Constitutional order of the country.
It is in the spirit of this responsibility and holding a nation together from treasonous and divisive forces that the Federal government has been undertaking the rule of law operations in Tigray.
Ethiopia has an unwavering commitment to honoring its international responsibilities, despite the destabilizing nature of the challenges that ensued due to the high treason of a criminal clique.
Nevertheless, honoring international obligations and responsibilities should not be deemed by any entity as an invitation to dictate a sovereign nation’s internal affairs.
Atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region (Press Statement)
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
FEBRUARY 27, 2021
The United States is gravely concerned by reported atrocities and the overall deteriorating situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. We strongly condemn the killings, forced removals and displacements, sexual assaults, and other extremely serious human rights violations and abuses by several parties that multiple organizations have reported in Tigray.
We are also deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian crisis. The United States has repeatedly engaged the Ethiopian government on the importance of ending the violence, ensuring unhindered humanitarian access to Tigray, and allowing a full, independent, international investigation into all reports of human rights violations, abuses, and atrocities. Those responsible for them must be held accountable.
The United States acknowledges the February 26 statements from the Ethiopian Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promising unhindered humanitarian access, welcoming international support for investigations into human rights violations and abuses, and committing to full accountability. The international community needs to work collectively to ensure that these commitments are realized.
The immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces and Amhara regional forces from Tigray are essential first steps. They should be accompanied by unilateral declarations of cessation of hostilities by all parties to the conflict and a commitment to permit unhindered delivery of assistance to those in Tigray.
The United States is committed to working with the international community to achieve these goals. To that end, USAID will deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Ethiopia to continue delivering life-saving assistance.
We ask international partners, especially the African Union and regional partners, to work with us to address the crisis in Tigray, including through action at the UN and other relevant bodies.
The United States remains committed to building an enduring partnership with the Ethiopian people.