The Eritrean government has filed another complaint against the United Nations Security Council and UN heads of humanitarian agencies over the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
The latest letter from the Eritrean mission and U.N. Ambassador Sophia Tesfamariam expressed frustration that representatives for the Horn of Africa nation were not included in their Tuesday meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Tigray, leaving Eritrea no opportunity to counter serious claims made against it.
“The circumstances surrounding the informal meeting yesterday also raise profound questions of the motive and intent of certain powers,” the letter said. Eritrea described the meeting with Mark Lowcock, the outgoing head of the UN humanitarian agency UNOCHA, as giving a platform to a leader “who has an axe to grind against Eritrea for reasons known to him alone.”
Some Eritrean forces are operating in the northern Ethiopian region, where fighting between the regional Tigray military and the Ethiopian National Defense Force began in November. The ongoing conflict left thousands displaced, with aid agencies warning last week that more than 5 million people were experiencing food insecurity so severe that it’s reached a level not seen since the 2011 famine in Somalia.
Eritrean leaders deny that they’ve blocked humanitarian aid, a charge they say was leveled by Lowcock. They also deny that Eritrean forces are committing rape and other crimes.
“Eritrea has never hindered humanitarian access in the Tigray region. Eritrea has never used ‘food as a weapon of war,’ not even in the dark days of the struggle or during the 1998-2000 war with Ethiopia,” said the Eritrean mission. “This is a well-known fact. The unfounded accusations peddled by certain forces against Eritrea these days are indeed driven to advance other political ends.”