Eritrea's Afewerki accuses US of complicity in Ethiopia attackBy ARGAW ASHINE | Tuesday, March 27 2012 at 09:39
Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki has accused the United States of backing a recent military attack in its territory.
In an interview with state television Sunday, President Isaias said the recent military strikes by bitter rival Ethiopia on March 15 was part of a failed US bid to destabilise Eritrea's independence and sabotage its "bright economic prospects."
Eritrea is already under debilitating UN sanctions over its alleged support for militant groups and terrorism in eastern Africa.
The US said it "categorically rejected" the claims.
President Isaias said his country was being targeted, along with Iran and Venezuela, for its anti-US stance.
"Last week's so-called attack is basically the handwork of the United States administration's plan emanating from frustration," he said.
"We are proud of our progress and no one can stop our march towards prosperity," he added, also blaming the media for being part of the conspiracy against his rule.
"The big media corporations funded by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were employed to disseminate and fan up last week’s incident," he said.
President Isaias, 66, has been in power since 1993.
"The United States categorically rejects any allegations that it planned, participated in, or supported the attack," the US Embassy in the capital Asmara posted on its website.
Ethiopia struck Ramid, Gelahbe and Gimbi, some 16km inside south-eastern Eritrea, areas it said were being used to train "terrorist" groups to target Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian government said the training camps were used for "hit-and-run" missions and that it was retaliating over the killing of five western tourists in January near the northern Afar border area.
It vowed to make further military attacks against Eritrean targets.
Mr Isaias said the attack was meant to distract from a simmering border spat with Ethiopia. (Read: Ethiopia's ploy to get the West to move on Eritrea)
He said Eritrea would not retaliate over the "aggression".
The Red Sea nation remains isolated from the international community over claims of destabilising its neighbours, accusations it denies.
In 2009 and 2011, the United Nations slapped Asmara with two rounds of sanctions aimed at deterring its involvement in strife-torn Somalia.
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