The Biden administration has described a CNN report that Ethiopian Airlines shuttled weapons to Eritrea as “incredibly grave” and warned that it was prepared to impose sanctions on Ethiopia and any other parties who prolonged the conflict in Tigray.
On Wednesday CNN revealed that Ethiopia’s government used its state-owned commercial carrier to move weapons to and from neighboring Eritrea during the first weeks of the conflict.
It is the first time this weapons trade between the former foes has been documented during the nearly year-long war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
Ethiopian Airlines told CNN it “strictly complies with all National, regional and International aviation related regulations” and that “to the best of its knowledge and its records, it has not transported any war armament in any of its routes by any of its Aircraft.”
But CNN used cargo documents and manifests, as well as eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence, to establish that arms were transported between Addis Ababa’s international airport and airports in the Eritrean cities of Asmara and Massawa on board multiple Ethiopian Airlines planes in November 2020.