Thank you for sharing your considerations with us on behalf of naturalized European citizens of Eritrean ancestry and other Eritreans in Europe at large.
The European Union has been engaging with the Government of the State of Eritrea since 1995 both politically as well through our development cooperation. Our engagement aims at ensuring the stability as well as the prevalence of security and peace in the country and in the region and improving the socio-economic living conditions for the people of Eritrea.
The conflict in Tigray is having terrible consequences on human lives, causing much suffering and destruction. Violence persists, posing serious risks for the stability of Ethiopia and of the entire region. The European Union is engaging to help end the crisis, and contribute to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, which is a strategic objective we all share.
The High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell has outlined on 3 April important steps for ending the conflict - firstly, hostilities must cease, secondly, humanitarian access must be granted to all people in need in all areas, thirdly, investigations on human rights abuses must be carried out, fourthly, and particularly important, Eritrean troops must withdraw.
We keep receiving reports from many sides on the ground, about human rights violations and abuses by multiple parties. Some of these reports, including the provisional report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, indicate the involvement of Eritrean troops in grave human rights violations and abuses.
It is paramount to investigate all alleged abuses immediately, establish facts and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. We welcome Prime Minister Abiy’s commitment to establish full accountability. We also welcome the March agreement between President Afwerki and Prime Minister Abiy on the withdrawal of Eritrean troops which needs to be implemented swiftly, in full and orderly fashion as an important contribution to the end of the conflict and human suffering.
As to sanctions which you have mentioned, the Council of the European Union has listed the Office of National Security in Eritrea for serious human rights violations in Eritrea on 22 March 2021. The European Union has informed the Government that it stands ready to work with Eritrea in addressing these pressing issues.
We share your commitment to lasting peace in the Horn of Africa which is a common interest we are striving for - as stated in the Conclusions on the Horn of Africa which the Council of the European Union has adopted on 10 May.