Global Policy Forum

Eritrean President Hits Out at

Agence France Presse
June 22, 2000

Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki has lashed out at the international community's "indifference" to his country in its war with Ethiopia.

"A valuable experience that we have learned and that we have occasion to underline during this Martyr's Day is the indifference of the international community and its failure to reduce the sacrifices paid," Afeworki said in a speech published on Wednesday by the local press. "It is not in our tradition to lament on account of the support given to our adversaries," the president said in the speech made on Tuesday.

"However, for the UN Security Council to go beyond mute indifference to penalise us equally with the aggressor when our sovereignty and international law were violated in such a naked aggression is simply unjustifiable and beyond reason or legality."

This, he said, was "a factor that encouraged the TPLF (Tigray People's Liberation Front, in power in Addis Ababa) to perpetrate its acts of destruction and inhumanity with impunity." Afeworki added: "This harrowing experience, which has left an unforgettable scar, will wisen the Eritrean people."

Eritrea on Tuesday celebrated Martyr's Day in memory of the 65,000 victims of the 1973-1993 "liberation" war with Ethiopia. Formerly an Ethiopian province, Eritrea officially obtained independence in 1993. The commemoration took place two days after the signing of an accord aimed at ending the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia which has been going on since May 1998.

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