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Africa News of Tuesday, 9 February 2021


Retreat Eritrea: EU backs US position in Ethiopia's Tigray crisis

Eritrea has serially denied that its troops are in Ethiopia Eritrea has serially denied that its troops are in Ethiopia

The European Union, EU; has officially called on Eritrea to withdraw its forces deployed to Ethiopia's restive northern Tigray region.

Eritrea has serially denied that its troops are in Ethiopia where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's federal government declared a law enforcement operation against the erstwhile Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, TPLF.

The EU statement also addressed the issue of humanitarian access to the region, protection of civilians and the need for credible probe into rights infractions as well as the the respect of rights of journalists - local and international.

Reports that Eritrean troops were involved in the Tigray offensive was confirmed by US diplomats weeks back. The US embassy in Eritrea in a statement last week called for troops to be withdrawn from Ethiopia.

Vice-President Josep Borrell, Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen and Commissioner Janez Lenar?i?

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 fuelling 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 authorised and local journalists must be protected.

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