The exchanges of accusations between representatives of the US government and those of Eritrea continue unabated, in an increasingly evident spiral of crisis taking shape on the sidelines of the conflict in neighboring Ethiopia.
Eritrea’s Ministry of Information issued a statement on December 3, through its embassy in Washington, in which it expressed severe criticism of the statements Congressman Brad Sherman had allegedly made the previous day during a political debate.
According to reports from the Ministry of Information in Asmara, Brad Sherman accused Eritrea of having closed its ports to humanitarian aid to Tigray, but contradicted himself by stating that Eritrea has not yet been asked to authorize the transit of aid, hoping that this request will be made as soon as possible.
The Ministry of Information also referred in its message to the statements made by the same Congressman on October 10, when, during the political debate that led to Congressional Resolution No. 445, he said that the U.S. Navy could block maritime traffic to Eritrea at any time, and that it would be right to do so as a result of the blockade of humanitarian aid to Tigray decreed by Eritrea.
According to the Ministry of Information in Asmara, on the contrary, Eritrea has never decreed any blockade of humanitarian aid through its ports, nor could it, since most of this aid is channeled to Tigray through routes that do not involve Eritrea in any way.
Finally, the communiqué accuses Brad Sherman of having made erroneous comments and judgments about Eritrea regarding some unspecified aspects of the ongoing conflict in Tigray.
The statement of the Ministry of Information in Asmara was replied on December 4 by the U.S. Embassy in Eritrea, with a short message in which it defined as inaccurate the statement issued by the Eritrean government. According to the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, the Eritrean armed forces still present in northern Ethiopia have blocked access to humanitarian aid flows, and are guilty of serious human rights crimes, including rape and murder of children, as documented by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Attorney General’s Office in Addis Ababa.
The United States, the embassy statement continues, calls on Eritrea to immediately and permanently withdraw its forces from Ethiopia, judging the involvement of the Eritrean military in the Tigray conflict as destabilizing for the entire region, exacerbating an already complex humanitarian situation and jeopardizing the possibility of a mediated solution to the crisis.
In summary, while the U.S. clearly accuses Eritrea of blocking the flow of humanitarian aid on the ground in northern Ethiopia, as well as committing crimes against the civilian population, the Eritrean government replies that it is not in any way affected by the logistics of humanitarian flows through its ports, systematically avoiding reference to its military involvement in the Tigray conflict.