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International community should condemn Ethiopia's invasion of Eritrea: Bronwyn Bruton

Bronwyn E. Bruton, Deputy Director of the Council's Africa Center

By Bronwyn Bruton

According to Eritrean officials, in the early hours of Sunday, June 12, Ethiopian forces launched an unprovoked assault over the Eritrean border at the town of Tsorana. Heavy fighting lasted throughout the day and continued after dark, when the Eritrean forces managed to launch a counter-offensive that ended the assault.

Near midnight on June 12, Eritrea’s information minister released a press statement accusing Ethiopia of the attack, and stating that “the purpose and ramifications of this attack are unclear.” Privately, officials expressed concern that the skirmish could presage a return to full-scale war.

Eritrean officials suggest a review of satellite images of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border, which they claim will show that Ethiopia has been building up its forces over the past two months. That would not be surprising, as Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has repeatedly and very recently warned of his intention to use “proportionate military force” against Eritrea in response to its “provocations,” though the United Nations Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) has found little evidence of destabilizing acts by Eritrea in recent years.

The United States, EU, and United Nations Security Council should act quickly to ensure that Sunday’s border skirmish does not escalate further. And for once it should point the finger of blame firmly at Ethiopia. Past aggressions by Ethiopia have failed to draw censure from the international community, but the refusal to assign blame in this latest incident would dangerously threaten stability in the Horn. The details of current conflict may be unclear, but Ethiopia has been frank about its desire to punish Eritrea militarily. Given that, the dire escalation of the conflict on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border was utterly predictable. And the international community is complicit in this escalation, because it has consistently failed to censure Ethiopia for its past aggressions.

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International community should condemn Ethiopia's invasion of Eritrea: Bronwyn Bruton Reviewed by Admin on 12:02 AM Rating: 5

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