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Ethiopia denounces "unfair" US accusations of war crimes in Tigray

Ethiopia denounces "unfair" US accusations of war crimes in Tigray
FILE - In this Saturday, May 8, 2021 file photo, Ethiopian government soldiers ride ...   -  
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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved


The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that U.S. accusations of war crimes in Ethiopia's Tigray region are "inflammatory" and "selective because they unfairly allocate responsibility among the parties" to the conflict.

On Monday evening, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had just returned from Ethiopia, said that all the warring parties - pro-government forces and rebels - had committed war crimes during the two-year conflict in Tigray, saying that many of these acts were not "due to chance" or "an indirect consequence of the war" but "were calculated and deliberate.

He pointed especially to crimes against humanity attributed to the federal Ethiopian army and its allies (the Eritrean army and the forces and militias of the Amhara region), including "murders, rapes and other forms of sexual violence and persecution", without mentioning the forces of the rebel authorities in Tigray in this regard.

"The government of Ethiopia does not accept the general condemnations contained in this (American) statement and sees no point in such a one-sided and antagonistic approach," the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

This statement "is selective because it unfairly distributes responsibility among the parties. For no apparent reason", the United States "seems to exonerate one of the parties of certain accusations of human rights violations, such as rape or sexual violence despite clear and overwhelming evidence of its guilt", it continues.

"As Ethiopia implements the peace process, such an allocation of responsibility is unjustified and undermines U.S. support for an inclusive peace process in Ethiopia.

Washington's comments are also "inappropriate." "There will be further investigations" into human rights abuses during the conflict and this statement "undermines (Ethiopian) domestic efforts to fully investigate these charges, regardless of who the perpetrators are," Addis Ababa said.

The U.S. statement is also "inflammatory" and "will be used to fuel campaigns (...) pitting communities against each other" in Ethiopia, the ministry said, criticizing a "partisan and divisive approach.

"Ethiopia will continue to put in place all measures to hold those responsible to account, including completing the national consultation on transitional justice and ensuring that justice is done to all victims," the Ethiopian government said.

A peace agreement signed on November 2, 2022, in Pretoria ended two years of brutal conflict in Tigray, a region in northern Ethiopia.

Contacted, the Tigrayan rebel authorities did not respond to AFP's requests.

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