The United States on Tuesday expressed outrage that the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali decided to expel UN staffers from Ethiopia even though six-to-seven million people in the Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions are facing severe food insecurity.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the Government of Ethiopia’s expulsion of UN officials from the country. This action is absolutely unacceptable and undermines international efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to millions of people whose lives depend on it. We call on the Government of Ethiopia to reverse this decision so that this vital work can continue across all the impacted regions in northern Ethiopia,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo On Government Of Ethiopia Expulsion Of UN Officials.
She added, “Nearly eleven months of fighting have left an estimated six-to-seven million people in the Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions facing severe food insecurity, with reports that some people have resorted to eating leaves or are going multiple days without food. And recently, we have started to see photos of extremely malnourished children emerge from Tigray. More than two million people have fled their homes—many leaving with just the few belongings they could carry—and up to 900,000 people are facing famine conditions in Tigray. Yet, in this time of looming famine and heartbreaking need, the Government of Ethiopia continues to take steps to prevent aid from reaching the people who need it, instead of doing everything in its power to facilitate the delivery of life-saving assistance to its citizens.
“Humanitarian assistance is provided on the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence—principles that the UN and the broader humanitarian community are upholding in Ethiopia in their attempts to deliver lifesaving aid to people in desperate need. We continue to call on the Ethiopian government to reestablish communications, banking, fuel, and other vital services within Tigray, and to fully restore transport corridors and air linkages to Tigray. This includes allowing desperately needed fuel, medicines, and medical supplies into the region, which the government has effectively blocked for the last two months.
“Humanitarian assistance is critical for saving lives, but this aid will not address the root of this crisis. An immediate end to the conflict is needed to alleviate suffering. We agree with UN leaders: this conflict is a stain on our collective conscience and it must stop. All parties must end hostilities and pursue a negotiated cease-fire immediately.”
The Ethiopian government said it was expelling seven UN staffers because they were reportedly meddling in the internal affairs of the country.