Department of State Again Misdesignates Eritrea in Annual Routine

Mekelle:  6 December 2023 (Tigray Herald)

Department of State Again Misdesignates Eritrea in Annual Routine

Eritrea is a nation known for its centuries-old religious harmony in a neighborhood beset by religious conflicts and tensions. Ethnically, Eritrea has nine groups and is roughly split 50-50 between Christian and Muslim–a formula for disaster from Africa to Eastern Europe, the Middle East to South Asia: but not in  Eritrea. Eritrea stands as a model of religious tolerance. In most  Eritrean villages across the country, one can see a church and a mosque standing side by side, and people breaking bread together attesting to the harmonious coexistence of the two major religions in the country.

It’s to this Eritrea U.S. Secretary of  State Warren Christopher said twenty years ago, “Eritrea is an oasis of  peace and civility and a beacon of hope astride the Horn of Africa.”

Yet, the U.S. Department of State continues its politically-motivated annual routine of designating innocent, independent-minded nations such as Eritrea as “Country[ies] of  Particular Concern (CPC)” —a practice based on neither fact nor logic.

The National Council of Eritrean  Americans (NCEA) condemns in the strongest terms the January 4, 2024,  State Department’s re-designation of this young African nation as a  “country of particular concern” vis-à-vis religious freedom.

This whole routine of mis-designating  Eritrea began in 2004 as a ploy to undermine Eritrea and help Ethiopia at that time escape from its international treaty obligation to implement the final-and-binding Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission  (EEBC) border ruling. The CPC designation came with an arms embargo designed to weaken Eritrea’s self-defense and to undermine the Algiers  Agreement and the EEBC boundary delimitation ruling which were seen as favoring Eritrea.

Therefore, the NCEA calls on the U.S.  Department of State to bring this annual hypocritical and unjustified routine of misdesignating innocent Eritrea to an end. To accuse Eritrea of religious intolerance shows how little the concerned US officials know about Eritrea, its people, and its values.

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