EU envoy: Ethiopia's leaders said they "are going to wipe out" Tigrayans
During closed-door talks in February, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other ministers said they were "going to wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years,” according to a European Union special envoy, the AP reports.
Why it matters: Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s foreign minister, condemned the statements this week, warning that the claims from Ethiopia's leaders “looks for us like ethnic cleansing,” per AP.
Flashback: Haavisto, who has served as the EU's special envoy in Ethiopia for months, had two days of "substantive meetings" with Abiy and other ministers in February.
- They discussed the growing humanitarian crisis in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia, where thousands of civilians have been killed and a famine has plagued more than 350,000 people.
Driving the news: Haavisto's statements come as Ethiopia prepares to vote in a national election on Monday, which will test Abiy's leadership and the prospects for democracy in the country, which is facing a wave of ethnic violence.
What they're saying: “If you wipe out your national minority, well, what is it?” Haavisto said this week during a question-and-answer session with a European Parliament committee.
- “You cannot destroy all the people, you cannot destroy all the population in Tigray," Haavisto said. "And I think that’s very obvious, that we have to react, because it looks for us like ethnic cleansing. It is a very, very serious act if this is true.”
- Ethiopia’s foreign ministry dismissed Haavisto’s comments as “ludicrous” and a “hallucination of sorts or a lapse in memory of some kind,” according to AP.