Ethiopia has vowed to wipe out the Tigrayan people ‘for 100 years,’ according to an EU official.
Ethiopian officials have promised to exterminate Tigrayans, an ethnic minority group, “for 100 years,” according to the European Union’s special envoy to Ethiopia.
Pekka Haavisto, who is also Finland’s foreign minister, testified before a European Parliament committee in February about remarks made during negotiations with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other officials.
“What is it if you wipe away your national minority? “You can’t exterminate the entire population of Tigray,” Haavisto added. “And I believe it is self-evident that we must respond, because it appears to us to be ethnic cleansing. If this is accurate, it is a very serious act.”
Haavisto’s remarks were described as “ludicrous” by Ethiopia’s foreign ministry, who said they were a “hallucination of sorts or a gap in recollection of some type.” Meanwhile, hundreds of people have died in the country’s northern Tigray province, which is home to nearly 6 million people.
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Haavisto’s comments on the fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray area are among the most vehement yet.
Otto Turtonen, Haavisto’s special adviser, told the Associated Press that the envoy “has no more comment on this topic.”
Haavisto claimed he met with Abiy and other “important ministers” for “two intensive days in substantive sessions” about the escalating humanitarian catastrophe in Tigray, where a famine has broken out in a region. While pursuing fighters supporting Tigray’s old leaders, Ethiopian and allied forces from neighboring Eritrea have been accused of atrocities.
It’s unclear from Haavisto’s comments this week who Ethiopian officials made the allegations about ethnic Tigrayans being wiped out.
“When I met the Ethiopian leadership in February they really used this kind of language, that they are going to destroy the Tigrayans, they are going to wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years and so forth,” the envoy said.
The United Nations human rights office has said all sides in the conflict have been accused of abuses, but witnesses have largely blamed Ethiopian and Eritrean forces for forced starvation, mass expulsions, gang rapes and more.