On Wednesday, Granthshala revealed that Ethiopia’s government had used its state-owned commercial carrier to transfer weapons from neighboring Eritrea during the first weeks of the conflict. This is the first time an arms trade between former enemies has been documented during a nearly year-long war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigre region.
Responding to the investigation, a senior US administration official said: “These allegations are incredibly serious; not only can they constitute a potential violation of the Chicago Convention [on international civil aviation]. The use of civilian aircraft to transport military hardware raises standards and jeopardizes passenger craft around the world.”
The official said the US would not shy away from using all the means at its disposal to end a conflict that has sparked famine and left millions in dire need of aid – including officials responsible for bridging the conflict. approval is also included. .
“We have the capacity to impose sanctions and are prepared to use them and other tools at our disposal against those who prolong the tragedy in Tigre,” the official said.
Ethiopian Airlines told Granthshala that it “strictly complies with all national, regional and international aviation regulations” and “to the best of its knowledge and its records, it has conducted any war in any of its routes by any of its aircraft.” Ordnance has not been transported.”
But Granthshala used cargo documents and manifests, as well as eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence, to establish that several Ethiopian Airlines planes in November 2020 flew to Addis Ababa’s international airport and the Eritrean cities of Asmara and Masawa. Weapons were transported between airports.
The governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea did not respond to Granthshala’s requests for comment.
In response to the latest Granthshala investigation, US Representative Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey, called for Ethiopia Airlines and its executives to be “held accountable”, saying he would be in favor of personal sanctions against Ethiopian Airlines executives.
“If true, this is a very serious matter that goes far beyond our interest in ending the violence in Ethiopia,” he said in an interview with Granthshala on Wednesday.
Malinowski said that international regulations that prohibit civilian airlines from carrying military equipment are “extremely important because if violated, they make it more likely that civilian aircraft will be fired in time of war.”
“So it puts everyone at risk. It undermines the norm that protects everyone in the world who travels on international carriers,” he continued.
“I think the airline and potentially its executives should be held accountable,” Malinowski said. “This may require the imposition of fines, it may require individual sanctions against Ethiopian Airlines executives. This is no trivial matter and needs to be dealt with swiftly and firmly by the Biden administration.”
Malinowski is leading an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is prompting the administration to determine whether a genocide occurred in the Tigre. “I think the passage of the law also sends a strong signal to the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments that their grace period is coming to an end,” he said.
UN Secretary General slams Ethiopia over expelled officials
War broke out in November 2020 between the Ethiopian military and forces loyal to the TPLF, which controls the Tigre. Within weeks, Eritrean troops had reportedly entered Tigre to aid Ethiopian troops. Eleven months later, the fighting has killed thousands, forced two million people to flee, fueled famine and sparked a wave of atrocities.
It was the second emergency council meeting in a week to discuss the expulsion of seven senior UN officials – most of them humanitarian workers – amid a worsening famine in the Tigre. The United Nations estimates that the conflict has left more than 5 million people in need of food aid and pushed 400,000 into famine-like situations, with rising accounts of hunger-related deaths.
Guterres described the Ethiopian government’s decision as “particularly troubling”, saying “the country is facing a huge humanitarian crisis that requires immediate attention. All efforts should be made to save lives and human beings at large”. The focus should be on avoiding tragedy.”
Guterres demanded that the Ethiopian authorities allow the United Nations to provide humanitarian aid “without hindrance and to facilitate and enable our work with the demands of this situation,” and not to follow formal procedures. gave a slogan to the country.
The removal of Ethiopian officials came just days after the UN aid chief warned that hundreds of thousands of people were starving because of the government’s blockade of aid delivery.
Responding to the news last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the US condemns the expulsion and will not back down from using sanctions against any group that hinders aid efforts.
“It must stop,” said Saki.
Granthshala’s Barbara Arvanitidis contributed to this report.
Credit : www.cnn.com