NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday lambasted Ethiopia’s authorities for the explusion of seven UN officials, demanding proof of accusations against them raised by Ethiopia’s UN ambassador during a security council meeting.
“It is my duty to defend the honor of the United Nations,” Guterres told journalists after a rare public exchange with Ethiopia’s UN ambassador Taye Atske Selassie Amde, at the end of the council meeting.
Ethiopia last week expelled seven UN staff for meddling in the country’s internal affairs, but Selassie on Wednesday accused the UN officials of making up data, falsely claiming hunger was used as a weapon of war and that people had died from hunger and of supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
“To use their own words, they were looking to create a Darfur-like situation,” he said, adding that “they, suddenly and overnight, created one million victims of health disaster”.
Responding to Selassie’s comments, UN chief said he had not seen any information from Ethiopia about these claims.
“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.”
US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield described the Ethiopian decision to expel UN staff as “reckless” and pointed out that “there’s no justification for the government of Ethiopia’s action”.
“UN personnel barred from Ethiopia must be allowed to return immediately,” she told the council.
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