Ethiopia on Monday said that it will reconsider its relationship with the US if America continues to interfere in its internal affairs.
Ethiopia was reacting to the US decision to impose visa restrictions on its citizens and to restrict economic and security assistance to Addis Ababa.
The US State Department on Sunday night announced that it had imposed visa restrictions on Ethiopian and Eritrean officials who are fuelling or obstructing proposed resolutions to end the crisis in Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region.
The restrictions affect members of the security forces of the Amhara region, informal forces and other individuals, as well as members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who are all parties to the conflict.
The State Department said the decision was taken as part of the efforts to end the conflict in Tigray, to have Eritrean troops withdraw from the area, to allow for humanitarian assistance in the area, and to bring the parties involved in the conflict to an agreement.
This decision, however, angered Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the US government of “continuing to exert undue pressure on Ethiopia.”
“The government finds it extremely regrettable that the implications of the visa restrictions and other related measures taken earlier will seriously undermine this longstanding and important bilateral relationship.”
“After the series of engagements with international partners, including the US, and the tangible progress made in addressing some of the prevailing challenges, the decision by the US administration to impose visa restrictions and other measures is not only regrettable but will also seriously harm and undermine the constructive spirit of engagement and the significant gains achieved on the ground.
“If such a resolve to meddle in our internal affairs and undermine the century-old bilateral ties continues unabated, the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia will be forced to reassess its relations with the United States, which might have implications beyond our bilateral relationship.”
Addis Ababa further said that the US decision also sends a wrong signal at a time when Ethiopia is gearing up to hold national elections, “which is expected to usher in a new political dispensation in the country.”
Ethiopia further added that the US approach was misguided.
“What is even more saddening is the tendency by the US administration to treat the Ethiopian Government on an equal footing with the TPLF, which was designated as a terrorist organisation by the House of Peoples’ Representative two weeks ago. There is nothing more revealing than this to understand the misguided approach by the administration,” it said.
Despite the continued pressure from the US, the Ethiopian government once again ruled out negotiations with the TPLF.