EU envoy warns Ethiopia Tigray crisis ‘out of control’

Haavisto told journalists that Ethiopia’s leadership had failed to provide a “clear picture” of the situation in Tigray — including the widely documented involvement of forces from neighbouring Eritrea. “The question of Eritrean troops is extremely sensitive, so we don’t get the clear answer about the whereabouts or magnitude of the Eritrean troops,” he said.

Source: Euractiv

File photo. An Ethiopian refugee woman with her child from Tigray region wait to receive aid at the Um Rakuba refugee camp, the same camp that hosted Ethiopian refugees during the famine in the 1980s, some 80 kilometers from the Ethiopian-Sudan border in Sudan, 1 December 2020. [Ala Kheir/EPA/EFE]

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto warned Tuesday (23 February) that the crisis in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region appears “out of control”, after visiting the country on behalf of the EU.

“You have come to the situation which is militarily and human rights-wise, humanitarian-wise very out of control,” Haavisto told journalists in Brussels.

Tigray has been the theatre of fighting since early November 2020, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced military operations against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), accusing them of attacking federal army camps.

He declared victory after pro-government troops took regional capital Mekele in late November, though the TPLF vowed to fight on, and clashes have persisted in the region, hampering efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance.

“This operation has lasted more than three months, and we do not see the end,” Haavisto said.

Finland’s top diplomat visited Addis Ababa this month — including meetings with Nobel Prize winner Abiy — on a fact-finding mission for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

He briefed foreign ministers from the bloc’s 27 nations on the crisis at a meeting on Monday.

Haavisto told journalists that Ethiopia’s leadership had failed to provide a “clear picture” of the situation in Tigray — including the widely documented involvement of forces from neighbouring Eritrea.

“The question of Eritrean troops is extremely sensitive, so we don’t get the clear answer about the whereabouts or magnitude of the Eritrean troops,” he said.

Addis Ababa and Asmara both deny that Eritrean forces are involved in the conflict, contradicting eyewitness reports from civilians, aid workers and some military and government officials in Tigray.

The EU has joined the United States in demanding Eritrean troops withdraw.

Haavisto repeated urgent calls from the international community for the Ethiopian government to grant full humanitarian access to Tigray, including areas beyond its control.

“What we need from the Ethiopian government is the greenlight to the humanitarian community to negotiate access to the Eritrean-controlled areas, to the opposition-controlled areas,” he said.

The UN says that areas where 80% of the region’s population live remain cut off from assistance and tens of thousands have fled across the border into neighbouring Sudan.

Haavisto warned that Sudan is struggling to cope with the influx and that it risked spiralling into a new driver for refugees towards Europe.

“We are seeing the beginning of one more potentially big refugee crisis in the world,” Haavisto said.

“If you don’t influence it now then the circumstances will build so that there are more and more refugees coming.”

In December, Brussels announced it was postponing some €90 million in aid to Ethiopia over its failure to grant full humanitarian access to Tigray.

4 comments

  1. It is only a person from Finland a country where Democracy and human rights is practiced to 100 % who can say white is white, black is black. All others have been playing by the blackout tactics of Abiy. Why should farmers, children and mothers be killed as a punishment from a weak military that could not stand the fights from the TPLF. The war in itself is so stupid and cruel with many satanic ambitions of exterminating the Tigrians from earth by Abiy, Isaias and the Amharas. This is so devil and hard to understand. The only thing the people of Tigray can be accused of is, they had peace and harmony and all are very welcome there. They have received Abiy with joy and he lied to them. Many Amharas in Tigray have witnessed on the generosity of the Tigreans but this has never been reciprocated by the arrogant elites in the Amhara region.

  2. I think the powerful international Communities such as UN,USA and EU are main supporters of the war on Tigrayans and the scene seen there because they have not taken any meaningful pressures on the Dictators(Abiy Ahimed and Issayas Afeworki). Why? WHY?why?

  3. @Andreas Bahgeri What a bold lie? let me remind you how the war started, the deceitful TPLF solders attacked the northern Ethiopian command base and attacked the solders on their sleep. These solders were helping the Tigray region and people for the past 20 years. They helped building schools to the public both physically and financially by contributing from their minimal wage, helping on the farm and many other good things …. but their reward is an attack during their sleep? who does this heinous inhuman crime on them? The answer is the monster TPLF. And now you are telling the world Abiye is trying to wipe out the Tigre people from the world? Abiye is trying to make sure the rule of laws are respected in the country. In order to do that the ruthless TPLF traitors should be apprehended and accountable for the crimes they committed on their country. TPLF started the war because it wanted to be in control . It never for the Tigray people and never will be but uses the innocent poor people as it’s shield. If it was for the people why is Tigray region under a safety net program for the past 30 years? TPLF was not able to improve life for the Tigray people. TPLF is a mafia group wants to be in control only.

  4. Ethnic genocide has taken place In Rwanda and it only took 90 days to vanish almost a million innocent people from the face of this earth. The failure of the international community is displayed clearly in this genocide of the Tigray people. In response to Debritu-Hannah, I can tell from her name she is the Amhara group who has committed this atrocities for no apparent reason. The lie she described above to justify the criminal activity of Abiy illegal Ahmed and the senior terrorist of East Africa Esayas Afewerki, is sad to say the least. These people are standing with the murderers and standing by their side to the crime against children, sexual violations of little girls which speaks volumes of who they are as a person. No humanity at all, I hope the international news spreads further to oust these two East African terrorist Illegitimate, unelected Abiy and Esayas Afwerki the Eritrean leader.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *