UN chief Antonio Guterres on Wednesday condemned Ethiopian officials for exaggerating the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in the country and warned people of “famine-like conditions”.
why it matters: Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expelled seven UN officials from the country last week, accusing them of “interfering” in their affairs by warming thousands of people in the war-torn Tigre, which was caused by the government. were facing famine.
running news: Taye Atske Selassie Amde, Ambassador of Ethiopia to the United Nations accused the organization At the end of its council meeting on Wednesday the number of people in need was exaggerated by more than 1 million, making false claims about the hunger crisis that includes dozens of displaced people dying in a camp, the AP notes.
- He also accused UN officials of supporting the Tigreyan People’s Liberation Front in its ongoing war with the government.
What are they saying: Guterres told reporters that he had twice asked Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to share any concerns about the impartiality of the United Nations so that he could investigate, per Reuters.
- “So far, I have had no response to these requests,” said the UN Secretary-General, calling on the government to provide documents of its allegations against the United Nations.
- “The people of Ethiopia are suffering. We have no interest other than to help stop that suffering,” he said.
threat level: Guterres highlighted in the Security Council Adding to the difficulty in delivering humanitarian aid to the areas most affected by the conflict, “movements are being severely restricted by official and informal checkpoints … and other barriers.”
- “Humanitarian aid is still not reaching the region anywhere near the levels needed,” Guterres said.
- “The country is facing a huge humanitarian crisis, which needs immediate attention,” he said. “All efforts must be entirely focused on saving lives and avoiding human tragedy at large.”
of note: Guterres called on Ethiopian officials to allow the United Nations to assist humanitarian efforts “without hindrance and to facilitate and enable our work as this situation demands.”
- US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a Security Council meeting that the Ethiopian government should let UN officials back inside, calling their expulsion “reckless”.
big picture: Millions of people in the Tigre are facing famine conditions. Still, less than 10% of the humanitarian supplies needed have reached the region in the past month, writes Nerdshala Oriana González.
- The Biden administration last month threatened to impose new sanctions on Ethiopian officials “responsible for prolonging the conflict, or being involved in” in the Tigre region.