Ethiopia, which is in the midst of a civil war, chastises the United States for issuing security warnings.
Ethiopia accused the US of distributing misleading information about security situations in the war-torn country on Thursday, warning that such statements might jeopardize relations.
Protesters holding Ethiopian flags and screaming “Stop foreign involvement” and “Stop fake news” gathered outside the US and British embassies in Addis Ababa, the capital.
Ethiopia’s assertion heightened tensions between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and foreign powers, which previously viewed him as a reformer but are now concerned about the year-old war destabilizing Africa’s second largest country.
Ethiopia was formerly seen as a critical security partner in the unpredictable Horn of Africa by the United States.
Even as rebels threaten to march on Addis Ababa, their relationship risks reaching new lows.
Because of “armed violence, civil disturbance, and anticipated supply shortages,” the State Department ordered the removal of non-essential embassy workers on November 5, and several other diplomatic posts have followed suit.
The US embassy in Ethiopia irritated Abiy’s regime even more this week when it issued a warning about the possibility of terrorist attacks in Ethiopia.
“Previously, they propagated information that Addis Ababa was surrounded [by rebels], and now they are spreading false information that a terror act will be carried out,” Kebede Desisa, a government spokesman, said during a news conference for state media on Thursday.
“These actions have harmed the historical relations between the two countries,” he stated.
Ethiopia has been kicked out of a vital trade treaty that offers duty-free access to most exports, according to the Biden administration.
However, penalties against the Ethiopian government and rebels have been postponed in the hopes of promoting a truce.
Ethiopia’s civil war began in November 2020, when Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, dispatched troops to Tigray to depose the reigning party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
He said the move was in response to TPLF raids on federal army installations and promised a quick triumph, but the rebels had retaken most of Tigray, including the capital Mekele, by late June.
Since then, the TPLF has advanced into the neighboring Amhara and Afar areas, claiming control of a town within 220 kilometers (135 miles) from Addis Ababa this week.
According to UN estimates, the violence has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions.
Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa, is leading a diplomatic effort for a cease-fire, but there has been little movement so far.
Abiy, according to official media on Wednesday. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.