The U.S. Department of Treasury officially announced on November 12 the imposition of new sanctions against four Eritrean entities and two individuals believed to be involved in the violence in the Ethiopian region of Tigray.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), pursuant to Executive Order 14046, designated the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), the ruling single party Popular Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), the Red Sea Trading Corportaion and the Hidri Trust company, along with the two individuals Hagos Ghebrehiwet W Kidan and Abraha Kassa Nemariam.
The Director of OFAC’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea M. Gacki, commented on the news the designation of Eritrean entities and individuals, stating that it was necessary as a result of the growing humanitarian crisis and ongoing human rights violations within the ongoing conflict in the Ethiopian region of Tigray, where Eritrea has been responsible for numerous acts of violence, contributing to the operational management of the conflict, undermining the stability and integrity of the Ethiopian state.
The presence of Eritrean forces in the territory of Tigray, according to Gacki, represents a “concrete impediment to the end of the ongoing fighting and to the increase of activities related to the distribution of humanitarian aid”. For this reason, with Executive Order 14046, the Treasury Department intends to condemn the role played by Eritrean actors by imposing sanctions against the entities held directly responsible for the role played in Ethiopia and especially for the violence denounced by the international community.
The choice to designate the EDF, according to OFAC, is related to its direct role in the conflict and the repeated violence perpetrated against the civilian population of Tigray, where it has operated since the beginning of the conflict, while systematically denying its presence.
The government party PFDJ was designated instead because it represents the nerve center of the political system of the power apparatus led by President Isaias Afwerki, from which orders are issued to the EDF forces.
The company Red Sea Trading was designated as the manager of the financial interests of the ruling party PFDJ, and is administered by Hagos Ghebrehiwet W. Kidan, also designated in the measure, who also carries out his activities as the party’s economic advisor.
The Hidri Trust company represents the holding company for all the commercial enterprises that belong to the ruling party PFDJ, and its designation therefore implies a consequent extension to dozens of companies related to it.
Finally, Abraha Kassa Nemariam is the head of the Eritrean National Security Office, and was designated by the Executive Order as he is considered directly responsible for planning and managing the Eritrean military intervention in Ethiopia.