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Washington to review export policies for Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Cyprus

The US is ramping up export controls on Ethiopia and Eritrea in response to recent clashes between the two countries (Getty Images)

The US Department of State is preparing to add Ethiopia and Eritrea to its list of countries with a policy of denial for the transfer of military equipment under Section 126.1 of the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), while extending its waiver for Cyprus, Janes has learnt.

The updated policy toward Ethiopia and Eritrea came as a result of the recent conflict in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia.

US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said in a 10 September statement that the US “remains gravely concerned by ongoing conflict in multiple regions of Ethiopia. Reports of continued human rights abuses and atrocities by the Ethiopian National Defence Forces, the Eritrean Defence Forces, Amhara regional and irregular forces, the TPLF and other armed groups, including the reported attack on civilians in one village in Amhara region this week, are deeply disturbing. We condemn all such abuses against civilians in the strongest possible terms and call on all parties to the conflict to respect human rights and comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

Eritrea has already been under a presumption of denial with exceptions for UN Security Council approved humanitarian or protective use, or for personal protective equipment for use by media, humanitarian aid, and development workers. The addition of Ethiopia to the list would, however, represent a new policy shift for the US towards the African country.

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