Eritrea on Saturday criticized the United States for imposing new sanctions on the country over the deadly conflict in neighboring Ethiopia, calling the move “illegal and immoral.”
“This unilateral sanction, which makes Eritrea a scapegoat on the basis of false accusations, contravenes international law and constitutes a flagrant violation of … sovereignty,” the Information Ministry said in a statement.
“It is clear that the main objective of illegal and immoral sanctions is to instill suffering and hunger in the population in order to induce political unrest and instability,” he added.
The United States imposed sanctions against the Eritrean government on Friday, in response to its decision to send troops to the Ethiopian region of Tigré to back Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The conflict, which has claimed thousands of lives over the past year, pits the Ethiopian government against the rebel group Tigré Popular Liberation Front (TPLF).
Ethiopia declared its support for Eritrea on Saturday, and denounced that the sanctions “must be directed at the TPLF,” said its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Eritrea “is not an impediment to sustainable peace,” he added.
Both Eritrean and Ethiopian forces have been accused of carrying out mass rapes in Tigré. Washington has repeatedly urged Asmara, the Eritrean capital, to withdraw from Ethiopia.
On Saturday, Eritrea said the sanctions reflected “wrong and hostile policy” by the United States, and were based on false accusations.
The sanctions are directed at the Eritrean Defense Forces and the political party of President Isaías Afewerki, the Popular Front for Democracy and Justice, as well as other state actors.