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]
Pope Francis on Monday discussed the humanitarian tragedy in Ethiopia’s Tigray region with the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken when both met in the Vatican City, the Biden administration said in a statement, as 900,000 people face unprecedented famine.
“The Secretary and Pope Francis also discussed China as well as the humanitarian crises in Lebanon, Syria, the Tigray region of Ethiopia, and Venezuela,” State Department spokesperson Ned price said in a statement.
Price said Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to working closely with the Holy See to address global challenges and the needs of the world’s least fortunate and most vulnerable, including refugees and migrants.
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“The Secretary thanked Pope Francis for his longstanding leadership on the need to care for the environment and tackle the climate crisis,” he added.
The crisis in Ethiopia has now attracted the attention of politicians, activists, diplomats and now spiritual leaders.
Yet, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 has continued to pursue war and not peace, with his soldiers using food as a weapon of war.
Late last week, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, blasted Abiy Ahmed, labeling him a liar anc contradicting claims that “there is no hunger in Tigray.”
Infuriated Power said the number of those facing hunger has now skyrocketed to at least 900,000 people. She said Abiy Ahmed’s troops were blocking access to humanitarian assistance.
It is unclear whether Abiy Ahmed will listen to the Pope and bring an end to man-made catastrophe.