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Ethiopia expels 7 senior UN officials

Ethiopia expels 7 senior UN officials


 Ethiopia's foreign ministry announced Thursday that Addis Ababa had expelled seven senior UN officials for "interference in the country's internal affairs.

The group, which includes officials from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs, has 72 hours to leave the country. Earlier this month, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said there had been a "virtual freeze on humanitarian aid" in the war-torn region of Tigray, warning that "the humanitarian situation will deteriorate considerably". Since July, only 606 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies have made it into Tigray; According to the latest figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a small fraction of the trucks were supposed to supply 5. 2 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid, at least 400,000 of them in famine situations. The United Nations estimates that 100 trucks a day are needed to meet demand, noting that the Ethiopian government is still blocking the entry of medical supplies into the region. The United Nations cited "logistical and bureaucratic obstacles, including long delays in unloading humanitarian supplies", severe fuel shortages and abuse of drivers as the reasons for restricting passage. The State Department, UNICEF and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “I am shocked by the information that the Ethiopian government has declared seven UN officials persona non grata, including senior humanitarian officials from the UN. Guterres added that "the United Nations is obliged to help the Ethiopian people who depend on humanitarian aid". "We engage with the Ethiopian government in the hope that relevant UN personnel continue their important work," he added.

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