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Netherlands expels Eritrea top diplomat over diaspora tax

Netherlands expels Eritrea top diplomat over diaspora tax

AMSTERDAM: In a bold move, the Netherlands have declared Eritrea’s charge d’affaires “persona non grata.” Eritrea has been enforcing a tax on expatriates amounting to 2 percent of their earnings, according to Dutch officials. Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra announced the Netherlands’ decision on Wednesday to expel Eritrea’s top diplomat in the country after being warned to end the African country’s practice of enforcing a so-called “diaspora tax” on Eritreans. Tekeste Ghebremedhin Zemuy, Eritrea’s charge d’affaires in the Netherlands, “has been declared persona non grata,” Zijlstra said in a letter to the president of the Dutch parliament. In light of the continuous intimidation and force used in the collection of diaspora tax and its resulting social and political unrest, the cabinet is forced to give the Eritrean government a powerful signal.” The foreign minister noted that the move did not mean the closure of Eritrea’s consulate in The Hague. Zijlstra added that when Eritrean diplomats were confronted with the allegations of the “diaspora tax,” there was “not an attempt by the Eritrean side to compromise on the matter.”