October 19, 2021

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Condemning Ethiopia’s Plans to Expel UN Officials

15 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States strongly condemns the Government of Ethiopia’s stated plans to expel seven United Nations officials and calls for an immediate reversal of this decision. The officials to be expelled from the country include 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 critical to the ongoing humanitarian relief effort. This announcement comes just days after OCHA Chief Martin Griffiths warned that a man-made famine is taking hold in Ethiopia. The expulsion is counterproductive to international efforts to keep civilians safe, and deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance to the millions in dire need.

On September 17, President Biden issued an Executive Order establishing a new sanctions regime that authorizes the imposition 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 obstruct humanitarian assistance to the people of Ethiopia. We call on the international community similarly to employ all appropriate tools to apply pressure on the Government of Ethiopia and any other actors impeding humanitarian access. We urge the Government of Ethiopia to collaboratively work with the UN and international partners to allow and facilitate safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all in need.

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