“Eritrea is not mobilizing its entire population. This is a deliberate distortion and exaggeration of the reality on the ground. Some reservists were called up, but that’s a tiny number. ” – Eritrean Gov’t Spokesperson and Minister of Information
BY ULRICH COPPEL (Software translation) *
The Eritrean Minister for Information, Yemane Gebremeskel, explains to ulrich-coppel.de about the current situation and background of the war with the TPLF (Tigray’s People Liberation Front), which has been ongoing since November 2020, from his and the Eritrean government’s point of view.
He denies parts of a recent BBC report about Eritrea staring “mass mobilization“. The BBC also reported in the article that “reservists up to the age of 55 had been called up”, citing unnamed sources.
On Saturday, Reuters reports about a general mobilization of Eritrea, citing a tweet with a travel advice from the Canadian government. Accordingly, even reservists up to the age of 60 should be called.
In the interview, Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Gebremeskel greatly weakens these reports, speaking of a “tiny number of conscriptions.”
Ulrich Coppel: How do you describe the current war situation in the Ethiopian region of Tigray and the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar?
Yemane Gebremeskel: The media have deliberately overlooked the fact that it was once again the TPLF that triggered the current round of military confrontations by unleashing its third offensive in Kobo and other Amhara areas.
This happened while the Federal government had declared a permanent ceasefire and when both sides were holding indirect peace talks.
The TPLF’s unprovoked actions have led to an escalation of the war that is taking place on several fronts.
Q: What are the goals of the TPLF?
The TPLF’s war plans are not limited to Ethiopia. From the outset, when it attacked the Northern Command in November 2020, military attacks against Eritrea to further its agenda of territorial expansion and regime change were always on the table. In these circumstances, Eritrea’s legitimate right to self-defense is undisputed.
Q: What are Eritrea’s goals in this war?
Eritrea has no special interest in the Tigray Region. The 2018 Peace agreement is between Eritrea and Ethiopia and it naturally includes Tigray region as well as other regions in Ethiopia. But the TPLF – not the people of Tigray – has an entrenched hostile agenda against Eritrea that includes the incorporation of Eritrean territories; regime change, and sometimes the destruction of Eritrea’s national identity to incorporate Eritrea’s highlands and the eastern lowlands into “Greater Tigray”.
The EU and the US are well aware of these toxic TPLF policies, but they prefer to accommodate it for their own agendas.
Q: According to a recent BBC report, there are “mass mobilization” in Eritrea and reservists up to the age of 55 would be called up. Those who did not comply would face “serious consequences”. What is your position on this?
Eritrea is not mobilizing its entire population. This is a deliberate distortion and exaggeration of the reality on the ground. Some reservists were called up, but that’s a tiny number.
* The original report was first published on ulrich-coppel.de in German.