Ethiopia has said it will reassess its relationship with the US if it continues to “meddle in its internal affairs”.
The East African country’s ministry of foreign affairs stated this while reacting to the US’s decision to impose wide-ranging restrictions on economic and security assistance to Ethiopia over the conflict in the Tigray region.
In a statement, the foreign ministry called the decision, which also involved visa restrictions on unnamed officials, “regrettable”.
The Ethiopian authorities say they have been engaging with international partners, including the US, to improve humanitarian access to the conflict-hit Tigray region.
It however said it would not negotiate with Tigray People’s Liberation Front ( TPLF), the party that used to govern the northern region.
“The government cannot be compelled to sit down and negotiate with TPLF”, an organisation it had labelled “terrorist”, the ministry said.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said that international action was needed to help resolve the crisis and said those involved had taken no meaningful steps to end hostilities.
Thousands of people have been killed and many more displaced since the conflict began six months ago.
The foreign ministry statement also criticised the timing of the US’s action as the country prepares for elections on 21 June.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is seeking a popular mandate since he came into office in 2018 after his predecessor resigned following mass protests.