UN Secretary General Asks Ethiopia to Show Documents Supporting Expulsion of Staff

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday told the Ethiopian government to show any documents or evidence the country has to support allegations related to the expulsion of seven senior humanitarian officials from the country.

In an unusual and rare open conversation, Antonio Guterres spoke at the UN Security Council after the Ethiopian ambassador made accusations against the expelled staff, including among others that they inflated the number of people in need of assistance to 1 million and reported deaths that never occurred. .

“If there are any written documents, which the Ethiopian government provides to any UN institution, regarding expelled UN members, I would like to receive a copy of that document, as I know nothing about them. And it will be very useful for me to detect, if the document is given to the UN and not given to my knowledge, then I have to investigate what happened in my organization,” Guterres said.

On September 30, Ethiopia announced that the seven staff had 72 hours to leave the country, accusing them of interfering in its internal affairs, and diverting aid and telecommunications equipment to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The government has been battling the TPLF in the north of the country for almost a year.

The humanitarian situation in Tigray and its neighboring areas, Amhara and Afar, is deteriorating. Guterres said Wednesday that up to 7 million people in the three conflict-affected areas need food and other support. He warned that obstacles had “crippled” humanitarian aid operations. [uh/ab]

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