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EU Joins The US In Calling Withdrawal Of Eritrean Troops From Ethiopia

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NEWS ALERT: EU JOINS THE US IN CALLING WITHDRAWAL OF ERITREAN TROOPS FROM ETHIOPIA, SAYS THEY ARE “FUELING THE CONFLICT IN TIGRAY”; RENEWS CALL FOR HUMANITARIAN ACCESS FOR ALL

Addis Abeba, February 08/2021 – Through a joint-statement by High-Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell, Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen and Commissioner Janez Lenarčič , issued today, the EU said it “joins the United States’ call for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia, which are fueling the conflict in Tigray, reportedly committing atrocities, and exacerbating ethnic violence.”

EU’s latest call on the need to withdraw Eritrean forces from Tigray shows that there is a transatlantic consensus between European Union and the US Administration under President Joe Biden on the presence and participation of Eritrean forces in Tigray’s armed conflict, which started on November 04/2020.

On February 05, the US, through its embassy in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, renewed the administration’s earlier call for “the Eritrean government to withdraw its forces from Tigray immediately.”

Both Addis Abeba and Asmara deny the reports but overwhelming evidence, including an admission by Ethiopia’s top general leading the Northern Command, Major General Belay Seyoum, and officials of the Tigray interim administration appointed by the federal government, have long verified the presence and participation of Eritrean forces in the armed conflict in Tigray.

The EU also said it remains very concerned by the “tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Tigray” and its regional implications. “Three months into the conflict, despite small openings, the limitations to humanitarian access to Tigray continue to prevent the provision of humanitarian assistance to address the immensity of needs, avert the risk of famine and prevent further loss of life.

Central and Western Tigray remain largely out of reach and two Eritrean refugee camps remain completely inaccessible, according to the Bloc, and called for “access to international media to be “authorized” and local journalists “must be protected.”

On February 06, the WFP announced a “partnership between the Government of Ethiopia and the entire humanitarian community to rapidly scale up a collective response to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of people in Tigray.”

EU’s Full Statement

The EU remains very concerned by the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Tigray and its regional implications. Three months into the conflict, despite small openings, the limitations to humanitarian access to Tigray continue to prevent the provision of humanitarian assistance to address the immensity of needs, avert the risk of famine and prevent further loss of life. Central and Western Tigray remain largely out of reach and two Eritrean refugee camps remain completely inaccessible.

Humanitarian access needs to be guaranteed and humanitarian assistance allowed to reach all affected areas and people in Tigray, and border areas of Afar and Amhara regions, in line with the humanitarian principles of impartiality, humanity, neutrality and independence.

The EU is also increasingly concerned for the protection of civilians and refugees in Ethiopia, with reports of casualties and serious human rights, international refugee law and international humanitarian law violations. Effective protection of refugees from harm in accordance with international refugee, human rights and humanitarian law, including preventing any act of refoulement or coerced return targeting Eritrean refugees needs to be ensured.

The EU joins the United States’ call for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia, which are fueling the conflict in Tigray, reportedly committing atrocities, and exacerbating ethnic violence.

The EU expresses its support to the work of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and encourages it to continue its investigations on allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international law. We hope that the Government of Ethiopia will endorse its recommendations, and fully implement the independent investigations and judicial proceedings announced to ensure full accountability for violations and abuses committed. Access of international media to Tigray must be authorized and local journalists must be protected.AS

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