Ethiopia slams US move to impose visa curbs on officials

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Addis Ababa, May 25 (IANS) The Ethiopian government has slammed the decision by the US administration to impose visa restrictions on officials in connection with the conflict in the East African country conflict-hit Tigray region.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the visa restrictions for any current or former Ethiopian or Eritrean government officials, members of the security forces, or other individuals responsible for, or complicit in, undermining resolution of the crisis in Tigray, reports Xinhua news agency.

In response, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday that the decision came at a time when the government has been engaging positively and constructively with the US administration on issues of common concern.

It said the attempt by the US administration to meddle in its internal affairs, is not only inappropriate but also completely unacceptable.

“Ethiopia should not be told how to run and manage its internal affairs,” the statement issued by the Ministry said.

Noting that Ethiopia attaches great importance to its historic and friendly relationship with the US, the Ministry stressed that the implications of the visa restrictions and other related measures taken earlier will seriously undermine the two countries’ longstanding and important bilateral relations.

The latest decision by the US is said to be in addition to its previous decisions to restrict economic and security assistance to the East African country.

The Ethiopian government further warned that such measures would affect the two countries’ relations.

“If such a resolve to meddle in our internal affairs and undermining the century-old bilateral ties continues unabated, the government of Ethiopia will be forced to re-assess its relations with the US, which might have implications beyond our bilateral relationship,” the Ministry stressed.

It, however, added that it will not be deterred by the decision and will continue its relentless efforts to overcome current challenges and lead the country on the path of lasting peace and prosperity.

Fighting that erupted in November last year between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which used to rule the region, and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces has left thousands of people dead and caused immense losses.

–IANS

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