Ethiopia has rejected US interference in its internal affairs, particularly concerning the reawakened conflict in the Tigray region. In a meeting with a US commission recently, Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister said, “Our people and government do not want any interference in the law enforcement operation on Ethiopia´s territory.”
President Joe Biden sent US Senator Chris Coons to Ethiopia to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and convey his concerns over the crisis which has killed thousands in the Tigray region and its impact on the horn of Africa. Last week, in light of his journey to Ethiopia, Senator coons said that the US is gravely concerned by the deteriorating situation in Tigray.
However, at the meeting, Mekonnen reiterated Ethiopia’s stance of non-interference and explained the national scenario and circumstances surrounding the conflict between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). He also said that the government is willing to investigate alleged human rights violations in the territory by independent agencies including those by the United Nations, Prensa Latina reports.
This is not the first time Ethiopia has refused international interference in the Tigray region crisis. Last November, Prime Minister Abiy rejected international consensus for dialogue on the issue saying Ethiopia will handle it on its own. “While we consider the concerns and advice of our friends, we reject any interference in our internal affairs,” he said in a statement.
“We therefore respectfully urge the international community to refrain from any unwelcome and unlawful acts of interference and respect the fundamental principles of non-intervention under international law.” Abiy released that statement stressing Ethiopia’s sovereignty and right to enforce its laws within its territories following concerted efforts by the African Union to bring the two sides to the table. The U.N. Security Council also had plans to hold a meeting about the conflict but postponed it.
The conflict between the Ethiopian government and the ruling faction in the northern Tigray region started last November when the government launched a military offensive against TPLF accusing them of ambushing a military base. So far, the conflict has resulted in thousands of deaths, widespread destruction, millions of internal displacements, and tens of thousands of refugees who had fled to neighbouring countries.