The White House pledged Thursday to respond “quickly” and “decisively” after Ethiopia said it was expelling seven United Nations officials, including senior humanitarian officials, warning that it was preparing to take “aggressive action” under the president. Joseph R.’s executive order. Bidena Jr. from 17 September approving sanctions against people and entities that undermine peace in northern Ethiopia.
“The U.S. government strongly condemns the unprecedented government of Ethiopia to expel the leadership of United Nations organizations involved in ongoing humanitarian operations. We agree with UN leaders: This is a stain on our collective conscience and must stop, “said the White House press secretary. Jen Psaki he told reporters in Washington
Psaki said that the expulsion of UN workers followed the publication of reports that warn that “hundreds of thousands of people are dying of hunger in the north of Ethiopia.”
“We are deeply concerned that this action continues the pattern of the Ethiopian government to disrupt the delivery of food, medicine and other foodstuffs that are most needed,” Psaki said at a press briefing at the White House in Washington. on Thursday afternoon. “We call on the UN Security Council and members of the international community to take urgent action to make the Ethiopian government aware that disrupting humanitarian operations and depriving its own citizens of basic means of subsistence is unacceptable.”
Psaki noted that President Biden signed an executive order on Sept. 17, allowing the U.S. government to impose financial sanctions on those who prolong the conflict in northern Ethiopia, warning that “we will not hesitate to use this or any other tool available to us for a quick response.” and resolutely for those who disrupt humanitarian aid to the people of Ethiopia. “
Asked by Today’s News Africa’s Simon ateba why the Biden administration did not immediately impose sanctions, as there has been no movement on the ground since President Biden signed his executive order on November 17, Psaki said: “Well, there will be no clear and concrete changes.”
She added: “We are preparing to take aggressive actions against this executive order in order to impose targeted sanctions against a number of individuals and entities.” What we are telling the parties on the ground is that we need to see meaningful steps within a few weeks to start talks to reach a ceasefire negotiation, allow unhindered humanitarian access and ensure respect for human rights. Without significant progress, we will take action. And we have methods for that. “
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also condemned Ethiopia for the decision to expel UN workers.
He wrote in his statement: “The United States strongly condemns the stated plans of the Ethiopian government to expel seven United Nations officials and calls for an urgent reversal of this decision. Officials to be expelled from the country are the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), whose work is key to ongoing humanitarian aid efforts. The announcement came just days after OCHA chief Martin Griffiths warned that human-caused famine was raging in Ethiopia. Expulsion is counterproductive to international efforts to protect civilians, and to deliver life-saving humanitarian aid to the millions who need it most.
“On September 17, President Biden issued an Executive Order establishing a new sanctions regime that allows for the introduction of targeted economic sanctions in connection with the crisis in northern Ethiopia. We will not hesitate to use this authority or other tools to respond to those who interfere with humanitarian aid to the people of Ethiopia. Similarly, we call on the international community to use all appropriate tools to put pressure on the Government of Ethiopia and all other actors obstructing the humanitarian approach. We call on the Government of Ethiopia to work with the UN and international partners to enable and facilitate safe and unhindered humanitarian access for all who need it.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned Ethiopia’s decision to expel UN leaders, writing that he was “shocked by the information that the Ethiopian government has declared seven UN officials, including senior UN humanitarian officials, persona non grata”.
He wrote: “All UN humanitarian operations are guided by the key principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. In Ethiopia, the UN delivers rescue aid – including food, medicine, water and sanitation – to people in desperate need. I have full confidence in the UN staff working in Ethiopia.
“The UN is committed to helping the Ethiopian people, who rely on humanitarian aid. We are now working with the Government of Ethiopia in the expectation that the UN staff in question will be allowed to continue their important work. ”
Expulsion of UN staff from Ethiopia by the government of Prime Minister Abi Ahmed
The Ethiopian government announced on Thursday that it was expelling seven United Nations workers, including senior humanitarian officials, due to alleged “interference in the internal affairs of the nation.”
The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave UN officials 72 hours to leave the country. The decision to expel UN officials came just two days after the UN aid chief warned that a blockade of humanitarian aid by the Ethiopian government was likely to force hundreds of thousands of people in Tigris to starve.
Tigray is a region in northern Ethiopia that has been at war with the federal government since November last year. Images of starving people, including children, have recently shocked the world, provoking international criticism, including from the UN.
Seven of them were expelled G. Grant Leaity, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ethiopia, Mrs. Adele Khodr, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia, Mrs. Ghada Eltahir Mudavi, Acting Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia, G. Kvesi Sansculotte, Adviser on Peace and Development to the United Nations Permanent and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia and Mister. Saeed Mohamoud Hershey, Deputy Head of Office, UNOCHA.