Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
Nearly two weeks after a ceasefire was declared on June 28, the United States again on Friday called for an “immediate and unhindered humanitarian access” into Ethiopia’s Tigray region, insisting that the “ongoing catastrophe” must end.
The latest emergency call was made during a meeting between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power and Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Secretary General Jan Egeland.
Acting USAID Spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala said in a statement to Today News Africa in Washington D.C. that Power and Egeland discussed “urgent humanitarian priorities, including the ongoing catastrophe in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.”
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“Administrator Power noted that USAID shares NRC’s concern over the need for immediate and unhindered humanitarian access and the safety and security of all humanitarian organizations operating in Tigray,” added Jhunjhunwala.
More broadly, Administrator Power and Secretary General Egeland also discussed worsening humanitarian needs “stemming from COVID-19 and the United States’ commitment to humanitarian reforms to ensure more aid is directly reaching the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Administrator Power also congratulated Secretary General Egeland on his new role as Grand Bargain Eminent Person, her office added.
The urgent call for an “immediate and unhindered humanitarian access” into Ethiopia’s Tigray region was another reminder that the unilateral ceasefire declared by the administration of Abiy Ahmed on June 28 has not brought tangible changes on the ground.
The destruction of major bridges and the presence of Eritrean troops in the region prompted the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a phone conversation with Abiy Ahmed on Monday to recall once again conditions that must be met for peace and stability to return to Tigray.