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Ethiopia slams FM Haavisto for saying Ethiopian leaders vowed to "wipe out ethnic Tigrayans"

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto has served as the EU's special envoy to Ethiopia.

Pekka Haavisto eduskunnan täysistunnossa.
Pekka Haavisto at Finland's Parliament on Friday 18 June. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry has lashed out at Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green). The criticism centres on his briefing to the European Parliament regarding the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray province.

News agency AP on Friday reported that Haavisto said Ethiopia's leaders told him earlier this year in closed-doors talks "they are going to wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years."

The Ethiopian government said Haavisto's remarks were an attempt to undermine the administration and facilitate an unwarranted intervention in the country. 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.

The EU has demanded probes into human rights violations in the region, where it says 90 percent of people are in extreme need of humanitarian aid. In April Haavisto, mandated by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, travelled to Addis Ababa for a second time to discuss the crisis in Tigray and its regional implications.

"Mr. Haavisto's ludicrous statements clearly show a lack of context and understanding of Ethiopia...and smacks of a colonial mindset that still lurks in the minds of self-righteous individuals like him," the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted on Friday.

The UN has said all sides in the conflict have been accused of abuses, but witnesses have largely blamed Ethiopian and Eritrean forces for forced starvation, mass expulsions and gang rapes, according to AP.

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