Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repudiated allegations made this week by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Ethiopian Army in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia during its offensive against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebels.
“The allegations of ethnic cleansing of Tigrayans by U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken amount to a completely baseless and spurious verdict against the Ethiopian government,” the statement issued Saturday by the ministry said.
Blinken had previously expressed his “concern” over “reports of atrocities in the Tigray region” and had called for the “immediate withdrawal” of both the Eritrean Army and the Amhara region special forces as “the first essential step” to de-escalate the conflict.
Amnesty International has accused Eritrean forces of carrying out a massacre of more than 200 civilians during their joint operation with the Ethiopian army to seize the northern town of Axum during Ethiopia’s campaign against the TPLF.
“Nothing, neither during nor after the end of the main law enforcement operation in Tigray, can be identified or defined by any standard as intentional ethnic cleansing nor directed against anyone in the region. That is why the Ethiopian government vehemently opposes such allegations,” the Ministry has noted.
“Any kind of disproportionate exaggeration, especially when the Government has made clear the need for a thorough investigation into these events, does not serve the purpose of justice and instead only unnecessarily politicizes the issue,” the statement said.
The Government stresses that the outcome of these investigations will “bring the perpetrators to justice and comprehensively address the alleged human rights violations and crimes that have occurred in the Tigray region.”
However, the communiqué adds that the Ethiopian government attaches particular importance to its long-standing strategic relations with the United States. Thus, the Ethiopian Government “remains committed to working closely with the current U.S. administration to further strengthen and advance this important bilateral relationship in the coming years.
“The Ethiopian Government certainly appreciates the U.S. support for the ongoing reform agenda and always stands ready to continue to have a frank exchange of views on bilateral and regional issues of common interests and concerns,” the statement added.