News and Press Release
8 Oct 2021
Originally published
8 Oct 2021
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Kombolcha – Amhara Region, Ethiopia - “UNFPA is here today to make sure we provide the support needed for the 700,000 displaced people in Amhara region and that the health facilities - which are already overstretched - have the capacity to deliver life-saving services” said Ms. Dennia Gayle, UNFPA Representative, during the official handover ceremony of medical supplies on September 22 in Kombolcha, Amhara Region to address the recent humanitarian crisis in the region. Emergency reproductive health kits and dignity kits were handed over at the ceremony in the presence of H.E. Dr. Dereje Duguma, State Minister of Health and officials of the Amhara Region Health Bureau.

UNFPA delivered 20,000 Dignity Kits and 145 emergency reproductive health kits to serve more than 200,000 internally displaced people in 22 health facilities. Meanwhile, emergency reproductive health kits and dignity kits were also handed over to the Afar Region to respond to the recent humanitarian crisis in the region bringing the total worth of the medical and hygiene supplies donated by UNFPA to the Amhara and Afar regions to nearly 1 million USD.

Nearly 900,000 people have been newly displaced as a result of the conflict in Tigray which has spiraled into bordering areas of the Amhara and Afar regions since July, 2021. Climate-related shocks and intercommunal conflicts are also impacting more than 5 million people across Amhara and Afar regions.

Mentioning that essential health care services have been disrupted as a result of the conflict, H.E. Dr. Dereje Duguma, State Minister of Health of Ethiopia expressed during the ceremony his appreciation for the support and leadership of UNFPA to provide “life-saving supplies to serve our mothers and sisters at the right time and when it is most needed”.

Ms. Dennia Gayle reassured that “UNFPA is particularly concerned for the thousands of displaced women and adolescent girls who remain in urgent need of essential and life-saving health, protection and support services. We will do everything at our hand to deliver the urgently needed support and to ensure no one is left behind in both Afar and Amhara regions”.

Since the onset of the conflict in northern Ethiopia, UNFPA has been closely working with government implementing partners and other humanitarian actors to address the humanitarian needs of IDPs and host communities with gender-based violence prevention and response, sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial support interventions.

In Amhara region alone, UNFPA life-saving sexual and reproductive health supplies and dignity kits have reached nearly 400,000 conflict-affected people and 28 health facilities with a budget amounting 559,000 USD. In Afar region, UNFPA provided sexual and reproductive health kits for 16 health facilities reaching out to more than 283,000 people, 20,000 Dignity Kits and one ambulance with the financial support of the Government of Denmark, the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund (EHF) and the CERF Anticipatory Action Framework project.


I cannot think of a previous occasion when a UN Secretary General told a member state – to its face – that he didn’t believe it.

Yet that’s effectively what Antonio Guterres did on Wednesday. He challenged Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to provide evidence of UN staff wrongdoing.

“It is my duty to defend the honor of the United Nations,” Guterres told reporters after the rare public exchange with Ethiopia’s U.N. ambassador, Taye Atske Selassie Amde, at the end of the council meeting on the situation in the country.

“Twice, I asked … the prime minister. Until now, I had no response to these requests,” Guterres said. “The people of Ethiopia are suffering. We have no other interest but to help stop that suffering.”

Full report below, with another report on the stand of the European Union and a third on the current humanitarian situation.


Source: Reuters

U.N. chief takes on Ethiopia over expelled staff: show me proof

Ethiopian porters unload food aid bound for victims of war after a checkpoint leading to Tigray in Mai Tsebri town, Ethiopia June 26, 2021. Picture taken June 26, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 6 (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hit back at Ethiopia on Wednesday over the government’s expulsion of seven U.N. staff, demanding proof of accusations against them raised by Ethiopia’s U.N. ambassador during a Security Council meeting.

“It is my duty to defend the honor of the United Nations,” Guterres told reporters after the rare public exchange with Ethiopia’s U.N. ambassador, Taye Atske Selassie Amde, at the end of the council meeting on the situation in the country.

The Ethiopian government last week expelled seven senior U.N. officials for meddling in internal affairs. Selassie expanded on that on Wednesday, accusing the U.N. staff of making up data, falsely claiming hunger was used as a weapon of war and that people had died from hunger, and of supporting government foe – the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

“To use their own words, they were looking to create a Darfur-like situation,” said Selassie. “They, suddenly and overnight, created one million victims of health disaster.”

Guterres responded in the council, saying he had not seen any information from Ethiopia about these claims. He said he told Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed twice that if there were any concerns about the impartiality of U.N. staff then Abiy should share the information so Guterres could investigate.

“Twice, I asked … the prime minister. Until now, I had no response to these requests,” Guterres said. “The people of Ethiopia are suffering. We have no other interest but to help stop that suffering.”

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield described the Ethiopian move to expel the U.N. officials as “reckless,” adding: “There’s no justification for the government of Ethiopia’s action, none at all.”

“The U.N. is impartial. The U.N. is neutral,” she told the 15-member council. “U.N. personnel barred from Ethiopia must be allowed to return immediately.”


War broke out 11 months ago between Ethiopia’s federal troops and forces loyal to the TPLF, which controls Tigray. Thousands have died, millions have fled their homes and the conflict has spilled into neighboring Amhara and Afar.

Guterres said up to 7 million people in Tigray, Amhara and Afar need help, including 5 million in Tigray where some 400,000 people are estimated to be living in famine-like conditions.

“Our colleagues on the ground are sharing increasingly alarming eye-witness testimony of the suffering – including growing accounts of hunger-related deaths,” Guterres said earlier in the council meeting.

“In locations where screening has been possible, we are seeing acute malnutrition rates that remind us of the onset of the 2011 Somalia famine,” he said.

He called on the government to allow the urgent delivery of aid “without hindrance” and the “unrestricted movement of desperately needed fuel, cash, communications equipment and humanitarian supplies” into Tigray, Amhara and Afar.

“Ethiopian children are starving. People are dying because they cannot access food, water and basic health care. This is not a situation caused by natural disaster. It is caused by those who continue to choose the path of war,” Ireland’s U.N. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason told the council.

Guterres urged the Security Council to back U.N. aid efforts. However, any strong action by the body – such as sanctions – is unlikely as Russia and China have made clear they believe the Tigray conflict is an internal affair for Ethiopia.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun on Wednesday called for “quiet diplomacy in order to prevent a deadlock” over the expulsion of the U.N. officials.

Source: Global News

EU Commissioner: Ethiopia’s Narrative ‘Dangerous’, Condemns Expulsion of UN Officials, Calls for Enhanced Collective Pressure

Globe News Net

The EU commissioner for international partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen condemned Ethiopia’s blockade on Tigray and the expulsion of 7 UN representatives who were mainly coordinating the humanitarian responses and engaged in the investigation into the atrocities in Tigray.

The commissioner in her speech at the European Parliament Plenary Debate on the Humanitarian Situation in Tigray On Tuesday, October 5, called on Europe for an ‘enhanced action and collective pressure for immediate and unhindered humanitarian access’.

Urpilainen said that the government of Ethiopia has sealed off Tigray making humanitarian aid delivery difficult while the needs are rising. The commissioner said that malnutrition in Tigray is raising and that to according to the commission’s estimates, closer to a million people in Tigray are now in famine condition.

In her speech, Urpilainen called Ethiopia’s governments narrative towards relief organizations “negative and dangerous”.

The commissioner concluded that Eu should press for respect of international humanitarian law are needed towards the Ethiopian authorities and all parties to the conflict for respect of international humanitarian law.

Beneath is the Full Textof the Commissioner’s Speech:

” It is since the beginning of the crisis last November that we have repeatedly raised our voice about the situation in Tigray.

The EU has been at the forefront of the diplomatic action and engaged with its Member States, likeminded-partners as well as Bretton-Wood Institutions to advocate for a concerted response. The EU has postponed budget support disbursements already last December.

Despite our and some other international actors’ efforts almost a year into the conflict, the situation does not improve. On the contrary, the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Tigray is reaching dramatic levels and is increasingly posing considerable implications to the wider Horn of Africa.

Close to one year into the conflict, over 5 million people are in need of urgent assistance and 2.1 million people are displaced. The Famine Review Committee (FRC) predicted in June that there were 400,000 people at risk of famine. We believe this number is probably closer to 1 million people and we have now evidence that the number of malnourished children has dramatically increased.


No meaningful humanitarian aid in Tigray has reached the region since mid-July. While seventy-five percent of the Tigray territory is now accessible for the humanitarian staff and supplies that are already inside Tigray, the Ethiopian government has sealed off the region.

Humanitarian aid entering Tigray is anecdotal compared to the needs, while on another scale, needs are increasing in Amhara and Afar as the Tigray conflict spills over into these regions.

The operating conditions for humanitarians have deteriorated sharply in the past two months, with organisations running out of supplies, fuel and cash and suffering from severe administrative access impediments.

Furthermore, the narrative of the Ethiopian Government towards relief organisations is becoming increasingly negative and dangerous.

In a shocking move, seven senior UN officials were declared “Persona Non Grata” last week, having to leave Ethiopia within 72 hours. One of them is involved in the investigation on possible war crimes and human rights violations. Two major humanitarian organisations were suspended this summer.

The gap left behind is unbridgeable. This results in a climate of fear and self-censure of relief actors.

Faced with this situation, the EU continues supporting civilians affected by the conflict through our humanitarian response efforts. Our absolute priority now is pushing for access to ensure that significant humanitarian aid reaches all those in need.

Enhanced action and collective pressure for immediate and unhindered humanitarian access and for respect of international humanitarian law are needed towards the Ethiopian authorities and all parties to the conflict. Our discussions next week during the high-level geopolitical dialogue with the EP on future cooperation under NDICI are also part of these efforts.”

Source: The Guardian

Ethiopia is facing an ‘immense humanitarian crisis’, UN chief warns


 An aid worker screens a child for malnutrition in Adikeh, in the Wajirat district of the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on 19 July, 2021. Photograph: Christine Nesbitt/AP
 and agencies

Ethiopia is facing an “immense humanitarian crisis” amid civil war and famine, United Nations secretary general António Guterres has warned.

The UN chief made the comments during an emergency meeting of the security council on Wednesday, calling for Addis Ababa to grant “unhindered” aid access, a week after the country expelled seven UN officials.

It is the second emergency meeting in a week to address the expulsion of seven UN officials from Ethiopia as conflict and famine-like conditions plague the north of the country.

The UN estimates conflict has driven 400,000 into famine-like conditions with up to seven million people in need of food assistance in regions such as Tigray, Amhara and Afar.

“The country is facing an immense humanitarian crisis that demands immediate attention,” Guterres said. “All efforts should be squarely focused on saving lives and avoiding a massive human tragedy.”

The secretary general described the decision by the Ethiopian government to expel seven senior UN officials – most of them humanitarian staff – as “particularly disturbing”.

“This unprecedented expulsion should be a matter of deep concern for us all as it relates to the core of relations between the UN and member states,” Guterres added.

He urged Ethiopian authorities to allow the UN to deliver humanitarian aid “without hindrance and to facilitate and enable our work with the urgency that this situation demands” and criticised the country for not following the procedures in place in case of problems with UN officials within countries.

US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, also called on the Ethiopian government, the TPLF, and regional militias to “end the fighting now, allow humanitarian access, and move toward a negotiated ceasefire immediately” in a series of tweets on Thursday.

The explusions of Unicef, UNOCHA, and UN human rights staff were “an affront to the security council, she said. “There is no justification for the Ethiopian government’s actions. None at all,” she added.

Officials from Ethiopia were due to take part in the UN meeting.

On Friday, the security council met to discuss the expulsion of officials who were accused of “meddling” in Ethiopia’s internal affairs and of political manipulation of humanitarian aid.

Following the 30 September decision, the UN wrote to the Ethiopian government, stating that declaring a staff member persona non grata, and demanding they leave the territory, is inconsistent with a country’s obligation under the UN charter.

In a letter seen by Agence France-Presse, the UN says it has not been given “any information” on the officials’ alleged actions.

A UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said on Tuesday that Ethiopia has not provided any additional information.

The meeting on Wednesday was requested by the United States, Ireland, Estonia, Norway, Britain and France.

On Friday, the security council could not agree on a statement proposed by Ireland due to opposition from China and Russia.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an ambassador of a security council member state told AFP that “we should move on to political negotiations.”

The expulsions sent shockwaves through the UN, where such moves are rare.

The UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, whose recent statements about the “blocking” of humanitarian aid and a growing risk of famine could be behind the decision, dismissed the allegations against the UN as false at the security council meeting on Friday, but did not say what they were, another ambassador of a council member told AFP.

The ambassador also said that the expulsions in Ethiopia could set a dangerous precedent for conflicts in Myanmar or Afghanistan.

“If we don’t resolve the situation in Ethiopia, it could create a snowball effect,” the ambassador added.


Source: In the Blue

Tomorrow (6 October) afternoon, the Security Council will hold an open briefing on the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, under the agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa”. Secretary-General António Guterres is expected to brief. The meeting was requested by Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the UK, and the US. A representative of the Ethiopian government is likely to participate.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be the tenth time that Council members have discussed the situation in Ethiopia since the crisis erupted in the Tigray region in November 2020. It will be the second Council meeting following the Ethiopian government’s 30 September announcement that seven UN officials from UNICEF, OCHA and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had been declared “persona non grata” and given 72 hours to leave Ethiopia. The Council discussed this development in a 1 October meeting under “any other business”, also at the request of Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the UK, and the US.

It seems that Ireland proposed a draft press statement following the 1 October meeting, but it did not garner the necessary support. The statement would have expressed Council members’ shock at the Ethiopian government’s announcement, reiterated their expectation of full cooperation between Ethiopia and the UN and called on all parties to allow unimpeded humanitarian access. However, it appears that the “A3 plus one” (Kenya, Niger, Tunisia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), China and Russia perceived the statement as unhelpful at a time in which Ethiopia and the UN needed to find a way forward.

Following the Ethiopian government’s announcement, the UN engaged with the Ethiopian authorities to persuade them to reverse the decision to expel the officials. As explained on 1 October by Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary‑General Farhan Haq, the UN’s legal position is that the doctrine of “persona non grata” applies to “diplomatic agents accredited by one state to another state” and not to UN officials. The UN has conveyed this position to the Ethiopian authorities, including through a 1 October note verbale from the UN Office of Legal Affairs and during a call the same day between Guterres and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Guterres also addressed a letter to the President of the Security Council in which he said that Ethiopia’s decision to expel the seven officials “creates yet another obstacle to reaching Ethiopians, at a moment when all efforts should be focused on working together to save and protect lives, protect human rights and avert a humanitarian catastrophe”. The letter further notes that “[a]ttempts to politicize humanitarian assistance” undermine the UN efforts to support the people of Ethiopia.

In a communiqué dated 1 October, the Ethiopian government urged the UN to “expeditiously replace” the seven officials. This request was reiterated in a 4 October tweet by Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie. In the communiqué, the Ethiopian government accused the officials of “diversion of humanitarian assistance” to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and of “dissemination of misinformation and politicization of humanitarian assistance”. The UN has denied these accusations, with Haq stressing during a 4 October press briefing that the organisation stands by “the neutrality and the even‑handedness and professionalism” of its staff. At the same press briefing, he confirmed that none of the seven officials are currently in Ethiopia, some of them having already been outside the country when the government made the announcement, and the rest having been “moved from the country to ensure their safety”. In response to the question of whether the UN will replace the officials, Haq said that: “we believe that the staff that the Secretary‑General and the UN Secretariat have deployed are the people who are fit for the job, and we believe that they should be allowed to go about their work without hindrance”.

On 4 October, UK Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Simon Manley delivered a statement on behalf of over 40 states expressing shock at the Ethiopian decision and calling for its reversal to allow the officials to return to Ethiopia to continue their work. The statement notes that the OHCHR official who was expelled was working on the joint investigation by OHCHR and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission into alleged violations of human rights, humanitarian and refugee law committed by all parties to the conflict in Tigray. The report of the joint investigation is due by 1 November.

At tomorrow’s meeting, Guterres and several members are expected to underscore their serious concern at the expulsion of the seven UN officials. The meeting is also likely to focus on the worsening humanitarian and security conditions in northern Ethiopia. OCHA reported that as at 4 October, 5.2 million people in Tigray required food assistance, of whom 400,000 are living “in famine-like conditions”.

On 4 October, Ahmed was sworn in for a new five-year term following elections that were held in June and September. (Elections were reportedly boycotted by some opposition groups and did not take place in Tigray, which is controlled by forces opposed to the federal government.) According to media reports, Ahmed promised in his inauguration speech that he would shield the country from foreign interference. In addition, according to a 5 October Sky News article, “thousands of troops” were observed near the city of Dessie in the northern Ethiopian region of Amhara, giving rise to concerns of an imminent new offensive by the federal government.

At tomorrow’s meeting, Council members may emphasise the need for the government to begin sustained negotiations towards a ceasefire and a political solution to the conflict. They may underscore the need for an immediate ceasefire and renew their calls for unfettered humanitarian access.


Ethiopia: Investors in a Chinese-built industrial park in southern Ethiopia have hired international trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg to push back against mounting calls to strip Addis Ababa of US trade preferences amid continuing violence in Tigray and beyond.

The firm is lobbying on “preserving AGOA eligibility for apparel from Ethiopia” on behalf of the Hawassa Industrial Park Investors Association, according to a new lobbying filing.

Lobbyists on the account include former Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.), a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Nicole Bivens Collinson, a former assistant textile negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The registration comes as critics of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are lobbying to suspend Ethiopia’s eligibility under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai raised the possibility in a virtual meeting with Ethiopian chief trade negotiator Mamo Mihretu this summer.


Eritrean families – many of whom have lived quiet lives in Libya for years hoping to finally reach Europe – have been rounded up in a huge “anti-drugs” raid.

Eritrean Refugees Arrested Libya

Eritrean refugees arrested Libya

statement from Dax Roque, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Libya Country Director, highlighted their plight.

“We are alarmed by reports of mass arrests of migrants in Tripoli this morning. We are hearing that more than 500 migrants, including women and children, have been rounded up, arbitrarily detained and are at risk of abuse and ill-treatment.

Migrants and refugees in Libya, particularly those without legal residency in the country, are often at risk of arbitrary detention. Torture, sexual violence, and extortion is rampant in Libyan detention centres. We believe this latest wave of arrests is part of wider crackdown by the Libyan authorities on migrants and refugees in Libya and the environment is becoming increasingly more restrictive.

We call on the Libyan authorities to immediately release those detained and to end the crackdown on migrants and refugees taking place across the country. Countries with ties to Libya, particularly European states must also scale up pathways for resettlement of refugees in Libya.”

As many as 4,000 are reported under arrest

RFI (Radio France International) carried this report.

Eritrean refugees arrested Libya

In Libya, a vast anti-drug operation was carried out on Friday October 1 in Tripoli. Libyan police arrested large numbers of migrants on the outskirts of the capital. In a statement, the Attorney General explains that these people are suspected of being involved in trafficking “drugs, alcohol and firearms.” The NGO Norwegian Refugee Council denounces an operation which aims above all to arrest migrants and refugees.

The head of the transitional government, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, greeted on Twitter “the heroes of the Ministry of the Interior” after this police operation.

”  This is among the largest arrests of migrants that we have seen in Libya in recent years,  ” reports Dax Roque, director of the Norwegian refugee council in Libya, reached by phone by  Gaëlle Laleix , of the Africa editorial staff: nearly 4,000 migrants have been arrested for the past two days in Libya.

“  Among those arrested, there are already registered refugees. We also know that there are women, some of whom are pregnant, and children. Images circulated on social media of dozens of people, hands tied, being taken away. This is not the first time that Libya has arrested a significant number of migrants. Throughout the year, refugees are held in detention centers. And it should be noted that their conditions of confinement are deplorable: the centers are overcrowded and unsanitary. 

We therefore call on the Libyan authorities to release the detained migrants. And we also call on countries, especially European countries which have close relations with Libya, to raise their voice on this issue because we all know that the situation of refugees in Libya has been worrying for too long.  

► At  the ire as :  “I want to leave” in Libya, the cruel treatment of migrants

Since the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the country has become a preferred route for tens of thousands of migrants seeking to reach Europe. Libya has also become a living hell for the candidates for exile. Testimonies of torture, forced labor, beatings, and rape in official detention centers are plentiful. Last June, the NGO Médecins sans frontières thus decided to leave the migrant detention centers of al-Mabani and Abu Salim, in Tripoli, denouncing an “unbearable” situation.

Eritrean Refugees Arrested Libya

The UN and human rights groups have warned that fighting has hampered food security in Tigray with a real risk of famine (file photo).
Ethiopian News Agency (Addis Ababa)

Addis Ababa — Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared seven individuals working for various international NGOs "persona non grata" and ordered them to leave the country in 72 hours.

In letters issued to the individuals today, the ministry has declared the seven individuals listed below "persona non grata" for meddling in the internal affairs of the country.

According to the letters addressed to each individuals listed below, all of them must leave the territory of Ethiopia within the next 72 hours.

1. Mr. Adele Khodr, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia.

2. Mr. Sonny Onyegbula, Monitoring, Reporting and Advocacy Team Leader: United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights.

3. Mr. Kwesi Sansculotte, Peace and Development Advisor: UNOCHA

4. Mr. Saeed Mohamoud Hersi: Deputy Head of Office: Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia.

5. Mr. Grant Leaity, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator: Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia.

6. Mrs. Ghada Eltahir Mudawi: Acting Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator: Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia.

7. Mrs. Marcy Vigoda, Head of office: Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia

Read the original article on ENA.

Ethiopia growing to resemble Eritrea

Saturday, 02 October 2021 14:14 Written by


By Kjetil Tronvoll

What do we know about Eritrea’s influence over current Ethiopian ideological, political, economic, and security policies? Recent statements by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his senior political advisors may make you wonder.

Ideologically, Ethiopia has adopted the Eritrean model of “enforced territorial nationalism” – all citizens must subscribe and comply to the national symbols and dictates emanating from the “king” or the central authority.

If not, they are considered enemies of the state.

Politically, Ethiopia has adopted the Eritrean perverse “self-reliance” model. 

PNGing or deporting humanitarian and UN agencies and construing the US and the West as an “enemy” of their sovereignty and development.

Economically, Ethiopia has (again) succumbed to Eritrea’s manipulative involvement. The Ethiopian Defence Forces are draining the foreign currency reserves due to their mercenary activities in western Tigray; black-market foreign exchange rate manipulation; etc.

Security wise, the Eritrean military is killing Ethiopian citizens with impunity and occupying Ethiopian territory with the consent of Abiy Ahmed. Eritrean intelligence services are operating as a ‘deep state’ across the country.

If the Ethiopian government and Prime Minister Abiy are as influenced by Eritrea and President Isaias Afwerki as it appear, then the US, UN and EU must re-think their strategies towards mitigating the Ethiopian civil war, and factor in Asmara more persuasively.

The political destinies of Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki – and their respective political projects in Ethiopia and Eritrea – are intertwined.

They are likely to endure or to fall together.


The following answers were given by a spokesperson for the European Union to questions I supplied.


1.  I have noted how active the Biden administration is concerning the crisis in Tigray. They have threatened sanctions and have send missions to Addis. By comparison, I have heard next to nothing from the EU.  
Answer: Since the beginning of the crisis last November, we have repeatedly raised our voice about the events in Tigray. In fact, the EU was the first to start raising the alarm on the escalating conflict at the time. What is more, ever since we are conducting a consistent and principled diplomatic and humanitarian outreach to Ethiopian authorities.
On top of this, the EU has postponed budget support disbursements already last December.
Just recently, our newly appointed EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the Horn of Africa, Annette Weber has come back from her second visit to the  region where she conveyed our well proclaimed messages to the highest political level while also encouraging a political solution between warring parties. This is only the latest of a number of missions that took place on behalf of the EU since the outbreak of the conflict.
In late 2020, High Representative Borrell and Commissioner Lenarčič travelled to Ethiopia and the border area in Eastern Sudan. Earlier this year, the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto, mandated by High Representative Josep Borrell, visited the region twice to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ethiopia and its regional impacts. The engagement with the High-Level Envoys appointed by the Chair of the African Union should further continue and open the door for a dialogue that is the only way forward to avoid further destabilisation.
The EU position has always been clear, as you can also read in the Council Conclusions from July 2021, accessible here.  Despite our and some other international actors’ efforts almost a year into the conflict, the situations does not improve. On the contrary, the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Tigray is reaching dramatic levels and is increasingly posing considerable implications to the wider Horn of Africa. We welcome every additional political effort by the international community and are working closely with our international partners in order to convey to relevant actors our unchanged key objectives, which are:
  • Immediate and unhindered humanitarian access and respect for international humanitarian law;
  • Cessation of hostilities, by all parties;
  • Investigations and prosecutions of all the alleged responsible for the massacres and atrocities;
  • Immediate and verified withdrawal of Eritrean troops. This would pave the way for a reconciliation and national dialogue. Thus, and while continuing to remind our objectives, the EU will, in close coordination with others, to keep the space for dialogue open and try to forge a consensus and basis for talks between the two principal warring parties.
  2.      What sanctions are you contemplating, to support the pressure now being exerted by the US?
Answer: The High Representative Josep Borrell has on numerous occasions indicated that the EU stands ready to activate all its foreign policy tools. Given the continuing deterioration of the situation, this statement remains all the more valid. Policy wise, the newly adopted Communication on EU’s humanitarian action, foresees strengthening of processes that put the promotion of and application of IHL consistently at the heart of our external action.
All those accountable for International Humanitarian Law violations, human rights abuses and other atrocities must be held accountable. We look forward to the publication of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission in that respect on November 1st.   Sanctions and/or restrictive measures are to be adopted by our Member States at unanimity.
Discussions are ongoing on that front with one single objective: improving the situation on the ground which is affecting millions of innocent people and which is destabilizing the region.
In the current circumstances, the EU has postponed Budget Support payments. The EU is willing to continue its partnership with Ethiopia and to review its decision on Budget support as soon as conditions are met.   In the coming weeks, the EU and its Member States, in close coordination with like-minded partners and Bretton-Woods institutions, should develop a step-by-step plan on the way ahead regarding future cooperation with the option of focusing EU financial assistance to strengthen support to the population.
3.       How confident are you that the African Union mediator, President Obasanjo, can make a breakthrough in talks with both sides?
Answer: The EU has always encouraged the African Union to take a more prominent role in this crisis and therefore welcomes this appointment. We stand ready to work together and intensify engagements with all relevant political actors and stakeholders in the region.
4.       Does Annette Weber have any visits planned to Asmara or Addis?
Answer: Annette Weber has travelled twice to Ethiopia, Sudan and has also been to South Sudan. There is no visit planned to Asmara at this stage. But the EUSR will continue to engage with all partners over the next weeks and months.
5. As you are aware, the situation is extremely critical; the WFP is unable to get its trucks into Tigray while the international media have been prevented from travelling to the region. What are you doing to address these?
Answer: Almost a year of conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray, the situation is alarming. Humanitarian needs are increasing, not only in Tigray but also in the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara, as the conflict is spreading. We are indeed well aware that very few trucks carrying humanitarian aid have entered the Tigray region since August 2021. Humanitarian agencies estimate that 100 trucks are needed per day to be able to address the immensity of needs in Tigray. Shortage of supplies, lack of fuel and cash continue preventing humanitarian agencies from scaling up their operations.  5.2 million people – around 90% of the region’s population – are in need of humanitarian assistance.
In this view, the EU as the leading humanitarian donor worldwide continues to stand in solidarity with the people in need through its humanitarian funding. As already mentioned, the EU persistently and consistently advocates for full, unimpeded humanitarian access in line with International Humanitarian Law from the outset of the conflict. Furthermore, we are conducting and supporting all possible efforts to ensure full, safe and unhampered access of humanitarian supplies and staff, by road, above all, and by air into Tigray.
Humanitarian access namely has to be continuous and predictable if it is to have any concrete and tangible impact on the ground. It is the only way in which the lives of people can be saved and assistance brought to those who need it most in accordance with the humanitarian principles.
We seize this opportunity to reiterate, in the strongest possible terms, that civilians must be protected, whoever and wherever they are. International Humanitarian Law is not an option but an obligation. International Humanitarian Law protects the lives and dignity of innocent civilians. It must be respected at all times by all parties to the conflict, including by ensuring the safety of humanitarian aid workers.


Press Conference given by Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, President of Tigray government

  • They’re doing everything to exterminate us through starvation and sickness. It’s not just by the bullet that they want to kill us. After we destroyed the [ENDF] force that was in Tigray and after the rest fled, they have shut off the whole of Tigray.
  • The lies and defamation they are concocting about the Tigray government doesn’t even have coherence. They are engaged in non-stop defamation campaign. It’s not just defamation, [they are saying] we are not human. They go as far as boldly saying we came from hell and that our place is in hell. They are saying day and night ‘we will put them to their place [hell]. And recently they are even saying we should be erased from history. Whether it is the devil or something else, we don’t understand what [the cause of this is]. We have heard them say that we should be erased from history. Their hatred for us is limitless. If our difference was [only] political, we could base on our respective [political] stances and carry out dialogue. You may fight; you may resolve it peacefully. But saying they should be erased from history and they should not be remembered is [absurd].This shows the severity of their hatred. It is with those that we are fighting. It makes you look back and wonder with whom you have been living all this time. The propaganda they are disseminating on the people of Tigray is baffling.
  • A huge campaign is underway to disrupt the unity of the people of Tigray. They are working day and night to cause division among us.
  • The main aim of the people and government of Tigray is to conclude the people’s war which we are confronted with in a short time.
  • We have accepted the executive order signed by President Biden because we believe it is of benefit to the people.
  • Many things may be raised on its implementation details and that is going to be taken care of through dialogue. The basic essence of it [agrees with] what the people of Tigray had been fighting for. It has condemned the atrocities and [called for] those deeds that ought to be investigated, to be investigated; for humanitarian aid to become accessible; that we should come towards peace; that Eritrea [army] has to withdraw; that things ought to be resolved through dialogue. They have included the fundamental things. The preconditions that we had set for ceasefire, that all services that have been discontinued – electricity, telecommunication, banks should resume – they have put it in a different way; in their own way. We have supported it because we believe its basic essence is beneficial. But there are issues which we would have to discuss with their representatives.
  • Fascist Abiy, on the other hand, has rejected it. We have to know that. Why? Because it must believe that he can do what he wants through force. It is because he thinks ‘I am gathering recruits, I’m importing weapons so I  can change it through force’. We have to understand that this is what he believes. It’s not just for bragging or to instill morale [on his forces]… therefore we shouldn’t be caught off guard. [We may wonder] ‘once the aid comes through will it come to an end through this?’ We will strive to bring an end to it [peacefully]. But our main task even now is to intensify our ‘Mekete’ [defensive endeavor]. He is seeking [to end it] through force, then we have to end it through force. Of course it cant be concluded through force. [But] he still wants [end it through force]. It means he has not yet lost hope [of resolving it militarily]. Therefore we have to make ourselves strong. Because there is a supportive worldly condition, we can’t [afford] to do things that cool down our preparations; that cool down our struggle. We have to learn from this. We are in our beliefs. We have accepted it not because we don’t have force [military strength]. It is not because we think he can’t be destroyed through force. He is on the verge of a cliff. He can be destroyed. How did we sweep it out of Tigray? It is because we destroyed it. We followed [its footsteps] and destroyed it. We can destroy what is left – whatever manpower he brings. We work taking even that into account.
  • There is a solution to large manpower too. The weapons he brings will also make little difference. There is an answer to everything. We also have military solution. We can solve it as such. We are dealing with it even now. However [we accepted peaceful dialogue] because we believe in peace and dialogue. We were like that before, we are like that now. This can be resolved peacefully. The political issue too can be dealt with politically. But this is not like that. It is genocide. Since it is genocide, unless we are exterminated it won’t be resolved. But this won’t happen. That’s why we have to be strong and destroy their forces. We have to make him yield. If it gets to that point, then it means it has ended. When we get near [to that point] he may accept peace and negotiation. If so, that’s good too. We won’t insist on destroying them all. It is genocide that they want; we have to show them that [carrying out] genocide is not possible.
  • Therefore we are accepting it because our aim is not to completely destroy and wipe them out. It is to secure our existence and safety. If there is a [non-military] process that can secure for us that, then that’s good with us. We accept. If it doesn’t benefit us, we will say ‘it doesn’t benefit us’. But his [Abiy’s] aim is not like that; his aim is extermination. And a peaceful negotiation can’t serve to exterminate. Either he has to succumb or he has to be destroyed entirely. Or he may remain and come to negotiations. It is through our [military] strength that we can bring him to negotiations. If we hammer him and show him [his sun] is setting, he will say ‘save me’. So ultimately, it comes down to our strength. Our might has brought about many changes".
  • They don’t care about anything but power. They don’t even aim at bring about victory. They merely want their army make us finish our ammunition and to exhaust us. It is to make us shoot day and night. Overwhelming with numbers won’t work; we have shown them and we will show them. Let alone now, this army has not defeated us during the times of darkness. We have paid dearly and we will pay sacrifice; but it doesn’t have a posture that can conclude the war in victory. It doesn’t have that at all. It will be destroyed.
  • We have to make it [PP] give itself up through force. When we come nearer, it may accept peace [negotiation]. But we will not insist on destroying it as long us the safety and security of the people of Tigray is secured. Either we have to destroy [and] subdue it, or we have to hammer it enough to make it come to peace [negotiations]
  • The government of Tigray is working on the avenues of diplomacy and peace; fascist AbiyAhmed, however, is insisting on solving it through its might. But though it wants to continue the genocide it has started, we will show them that that won’t happen.

The plot of besieging Tigray and making it succumb will not work either now or in the future. We will break out of this siege through  our martyrdom and will make them never dare [even] stare at Tigray.