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Eritrean Minister Says No Food Shortage in His Country

Eritrea's information minister has told VOA that the Horn of Africa nation does not share its neighbors' food shortages, despite concern voiced by the U.S. State Department.

Ali Abdu said in an interview with VOA Friday that Eritrea has plenty of food reserves to feed its people and can deal with the drought without external support.

He said the famine in the Horn of Africa is a "man-made crisis" and accused Eritrea's famine-plagued neighbors of having corrupt governments and "not caring for their people."

Last week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said in a news briefing that Eritrea is a "closed and increasingly reclusive country." He said the government in Asmara has "not been particularly helpful" in sharing information about the severity of the food shortages or the drought there.

He said he assumes that because of Eritrea's location in the Horn of Africa, conditions there must be similar to those in other nations. He urged Eritrea to be more open about the needs of its population.

Abdu's statements echo those of Yemane Ghebreab, a political adviser to the Eritrean president, who told VOA on Thursday that there are no food shortages in Eritrea and that the country seeks no external aid.