United States and European Union hold high-level emergency meeting over Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis

The United States and European Union will hold a high-level meeting Thursday to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the U.S. Agency for International Development announced Wednesday.

“U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power is co-hosting an event with the European Union focused on the humanitarian catastrophe in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, and the need for a strong international response to meet urgent humanitarian needs and prevent further atrocities, including widespread sexual and gender-based violence,” USAID said in a statement.

Approximately 5.2 million out of 6 million people —or some 90% of the population in Tigray—are in need of assistance because of the ongoing conflict and efforts by armed actors to delay and prevent food and other critical supplies from reaching vulnerable populations.

“Despite continuous calls for immediate and unfettered humanitarian access the delivery of assistance remains restricted, and violence against civilians as wells as destruction of hospitals, schools and religious buildings continues,” said a release from the European Union.

The United States and European Union have been vocal in condemning reported human rights violations in Tigray and calling for a cessation of hostilities and complete withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Ethiopia in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the region.

However, the international community seems to be growing increasingly impatient as the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have not been cooperative with humanitarian efforts.

According to the United Nations World Food Program, over 90 percent of people in Tigray are in need of emergency food aid and there is a looming risk of famine of dramatic proportions.

Thursday’s publicly broadcasted roundtable meeting will feature prominent American diplomats including the United States representative to the UN, USAID Administrator, and Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa. The meeting will also welcome the EU Commissioners for both Crisis Management and International Partnerships as well as the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Noah Pitcher is a global politics correspondent for Today News Africa covering the U.S. government, United Nations, African Union, and other actors involved in international developments, political controversies, and humanitarian issues.

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