The United States government Friday imposed sanctions on four Eritrean entities and two individuals in connection with the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia due to the ongoing military conflict.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a statement condemning Eritrean interference in the Ethiopian fighting. President Biden signed an executive order on September 17 that authorized OFAC to target actors contributing to the crisis. OFAC director Andrea Gacki condemned the Eritrean entities and said, “Parties to the conflict must come to the negotiating table without preconditions.”
The four entities sanctioned are the Eritrean Defense Force (EDF), the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), Hidri Trust, and Red Sea Trading Corporation (RSTC). The EDF is the Eritrean military, while the PFDJ is the only legal, political party in Eritrea, under the leadership of Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki. Hidri Trust is a holding company that controls all of the PFDJ’s business interests and RSTC funds and provides business assistance to the party. The two individuals who were sanctioned are Abraha Kassa Nemariam, the head of the Eritrean National Security Office, and Hagos Ghebrehiwet W Kidan, economic advisor to the PFDJ and CEO of RSTC.
All the property and interests of the persons and entities named in the U.S. or controlled by U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. “The United States stands ready to pursue additional actions, including against the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, if there is not tangible progress toward a cessation of hostilities,” director Gacki warned. OFAC previously sanctioned the EDF’s chief of staff following allegations of serious human rights abuses in August.