Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki has expressed his concern about the situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, in an interview with government media.
He said: “we are contributing in accordance to our obligation” – without commenting on reports that Eritrean troops are in Tigray to help Ethiopian forces fight the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Last month, the US called for immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops in Tigray, which borders Eritrea.
Both the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments have denied that Eritrean forces are in Tigray.
“We, more than others in the region, have experienced the problem for 80 years. Therefore, peace and stability in Ethiopia is of more concern to us than others,” said President Isaias.
He said Eritrea was “trying our level best to contribute to [the situation in Ethiopia]” but did not specify what kind of contribution Eritrea was making.
He termed it as “utter madness” how the TPLF, Tigray’s ousted ruling party, seized the north command of the Ethiopian army in November.
In early 2020, President Isaias said “we will not fold our hands and sit still concerning matters that develop in Ethiopia”.
Conflict in Tigray region escalated in early November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray.
Ahmed said the offensive was in response to an attack on a military base housing government troops in Tigray.
The TPLF said it had captured the bases as a pre-emptive strike as it feared federal intervention in Tigray.
At least two million people have been displaced by the conflict and more than 60,000 people have crossed the border to Sudan.
The UN says that around 4.5 million people in the region require aid urgently.