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Washington Post is Woefully Wrong with its “Facts’’

The Embassy of Eritrea to the US is utterly dismayed by the Opinion of the Editorial Board published on August 27 that blindly endorses the unwarranted US sanctions imposed on Eritrea without rudimentary scrutiny and knowledge of the underlying facts.  The Embassy is indeed appalled at multiple, gratuitous, assertions that the WP makes and which are grossly at variance with actual facts.

  1. The Washington Post oddly attributes the genesis and eruption of the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in early November last year to “a civil dispute turned bloody”. This is astounding and discredits, by and in itself, the whole article. The war started on the night of November 3 when the TPLF launched massive, premeditated, assaults across the entire contingent of Ethiopia’s Northern Command. This War of Insurrection was characterized, by the TPLF itself, as a “blitzkrieg” to neutralize the Northern Command and capture its weaponry which consisted almost 80% of the total arsenal of the Ethiopia’s National Defense Forces (ENDF).  The pronounced aims of the TPLF were to then topple the Federal Government.  Subsequent acts of aggression against Eritrea were part and parcel of this scheme.  The TPLF fielded its 250,000 militias and Special Forces.  A misrepresentation of facts on this scale is both inexplicable and inexcusable.
  2. The allegations of rape and massacres are, again, untrue and recycled by Amnesty International and other actors on the basis of “testimonies” collected through distant phone interviews without rigorous substation and due validation. This is precisely why, in responding to the unwarranted sanctions imposed on Eritrea’s Chief of Staff, Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry requested the US Administration “to bring the case to independent adjudication if it indeed has facts to prove its false allegations”, (Full Press Release is attached).
  3. The Washington Post claims that “the UN sanctioned Eritrea for nine years, in part for refusing to withdraw troops from neighboring  Djibouti, and the country did not relent’’. Again this is utterly false.  The UN Security Council imposed unjust resolutions against Eritrea because Eritrea strongly opposed TPLF-led Ethiopia’s military intervention in Somalia in 2006, under the prodding of the US Administration, to topple the Union of Islamic Courts.  Eritrea strongly opposed the wrong labeling of the UIC and Somalia at the time as the “epicenter of terrorism in the Horn’’.  US Assistant Secretary for Africa, Jendayi Fraser, then vowed that “Eritrea will be punished for its stand’’.  In retrospect, and years later, even US Administration officials have admitted the folly of those policies.  Nonetheless Eritrea was victimized and the US invoked all its diplomatic clout to impose sanctions on Eritrea under the trumped-up charges of supporting “Al-Shebaab” that really came to life after the misguided ousting of the Union of Islamic Courts.  In as far as the border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti is concerned; Eritrean troops never crossed their border.

To conclude, the Washington Post is evidently entitled to take certain positions on the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.  But, it cannot, in all honesty, twist facts and events to create a fictitious narrative.

Embassy of the State of Eritrea

Washington, DC

01 Sep 2021


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