BY TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki, says the US government was behind a two-year bloody conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
Erupted in November 2020, the Tigray conflict between Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces and Ethiopia government and allied Eritrean and regional forces has claimed the lives of over half a million people.
In a rare interview Sunday with the state-run Eri-TV, the Eritrean President said the US government mainly orchestrated the devastating Ethiopian conflict in its quest to meet regional interests.
He accused Washington as a main instigator of the Ethiopian conflict.
“The Tigray conflict was a product of the US backed ploy. The war wasn’t just between Eritrea and Tigray. I would say it was rather between Eritrea and Washington” President Isaias said.
He said, TPLF was only serving as an implementing tool to US proxy war in Ethiopia which eventually put Ethiopia into a huge crises.
Isaias said that the war started by the “TPLF and their masters in Washington” and was “set on a new phase to jeopardize the peace between the two countries [Ethiopia and Eritrea] when they attacked Eritrea with missiles, in accordance to the instigation of their accomplice, the Washington, having misled the people of Tigray”.
“US initially believed that attacking Eritrea with missiles could be a game changer. This calculation has hugely misled TPLF which planned to attack 72 targets inside Eritrea”
“It was a miscalculated strategy intended to derail the peace agreement and weaken Ethiopia”
“Their deceptive gambling game eventually failed”
“At the beginning when TPLF was beating the drums of war, we kept wondering why this war was needed so much but later we learned that they [TPLF and US] were not happy with the peace agreement” he said citing to a peace deal reached between Addis Ababa and Asmara in 2018.
Isaias also mentioned about an incident when he spoke with TPLF leader shortly after Ethiopia and Eritrea’s rapprochement to end two decades of frozen war.
“I had once a chance to meet TPLF leader [Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael] at Om-Hajar (border town). It was a one or two minute brief meeting. I asked him why are you preparing for a war?. however I didn’t get a response from him during that short moment”
The President further went into saying that the AU-brokered peace deal signed last November between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan authorities in Pretoria, South Africa was was worked out mainly by Washington with the over-arching intent of precluding TPLF’s total military defeat and to rescue TPLF from losing in the battlefield.
“Be this as it may, Eritrea has no reservations if the Peace Agreement is implemented in good faith and in its entirety. This must be ascertained through meticulous monitoring” He added.
He said Eritrea had to step in to the fighting to stop “Washington’s fantasy and its proxy war and for the sake of Ethiopia’s and regional peace”
“During the first and second round of fighting, we have missed both chances (to crush TPLF) but at the third and final round, we said we won’t miss this one” to crush TPLF.
“That is when they [TPLF] suffered a huge loss and requested Washington to rescue them”
These developments, according to him fostered anxiety in its handlers in Washington who nudged it to indulge in reckless military offensives.
Miscalculation on the balance of power was another factor behind these deplorable debacles, he added.
The Eritrean President who led the country since the country gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 further commented on how US played role in facilitating a first face-to-face meeting between TPLF and Ethiopia government negotiators to rescue the latter.
“A US military plane flew from Djibouti to Mekele and brought back TPLF negotiators. They they were flown to Pretoria via a different plane”
“At Pretoria, they [TPLF leaders] were given a paper to sign. They were ordered to sign it. They had no other option but to sign it. And they did”
“Everything was done by Washington. Obasanjo, Uhuru, African Union were all chaperons,” the president said, adding that, “the paper was prepared and given to them by Washington”
He said Washington’s intent to rescue TPLF is meant to eventually prepare them for another Ethiopian war when favorable time comes.
(The East African Daily)