a report by AFP November 18, 2020
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday laid blame for Ethiopia’s growing conflict on leaders in the Tigray region and praised neighboring Eritrea for restraint after being hit by rockets.
Pompeo said that the United States “strongly condemns” Saturday’s attack by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party of the dissident region, against the airport in Eritrea’s capital Asmara.
“We are deeply concerned by this blatant attempt by the TPLF to cause regional instability by expanding its conflict with Ethiopian authorities to neighboring countries,” Pompeo said in a statement.
“We appreciate Eritrea’s restraint, which has helped prevent further spreading of the conflict,” he said. Pompeo urged safe passage for humanitarian workers and the protection of US citizens. “We strongly urge the TPLF and the Ethiopian authorities to take immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict, restore peace and protect civilians,” Pompeo said.
The statement notably did not apportion blame to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a US ally who has faced international criticism in other quarters over his campaign in Tigray that has sent thousands of people fleeing. Abiy said the military action was in response to TPLF attacks on federal military camps. Pompeo’s praise of Eritrea’s restraint comes despite frequent US criticism of the young nation over its human rights record