Ethiopia: Humanitarian Route Open in Tigray, Says Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ethiopian refugees fleeing clashes in the country's northern Tigray region cross the border into Hamdayet, Sudan.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said humanitarian routes in Tigray have been opened for aid providers following an agreement reached between the government and the United Nations.

According to Dina Mufti (Amb.), MoFA Spokesperson, humanitarian access routes have been opened for humanitarian assistance providers in Tigray region after four weeks of blockade, since the war in Tigray began.

It was on November 4, 2020 that the federal government announced a military offensive in Tigray region following, as PM Abiy Ahmed announced at the time, an attack by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) stationed in the region.

The UN HQ in New York announced on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 that it had reached a deal with the Ethiopian government to allow 'unimpeded, sustained and secure access' for humanitarian supplies to reach those in need across areas now under its control in Tigray."

In line with promises to conduct a needs assessment by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the time, a team of experts travelled to the area and prepared a report of their visits, confirmed Dina.

The challenge for the provision of humanitarian assistance is, according to Dina, the fluctuating number of the needy.

Moreover, the government has collaborated with the Sudanese government to repatriate Ethiopians who fled the war and crossed the Sudanese border, the spokesperson added, further noting that the government will reinstate them at home.

Dina also highlighted that both physical and virtual diplomatic efforts to clarify the measures of law enforcement to the diplomatic community have been successful. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demeke Mekonnen, paid visits to three African countries and five European countries to explain the law enforcement measures being taken by the government in Tigray.

In addition, delegations led by Dina and former Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew delivered messages by the Prime Minister to various African countries.

The visits, according to Dina, sought to explain the operation was concluded with minimum casualties, the government is working to repatriate people who fled the war and ascertain that the federal government is negotiating with the interim government of Tigray regarding the operation and the future rehabilitation works to reinstate the displaced.

He remarked: "all countries visited understood that these efforts of law enforcement are Ethiopia's internal affairs."

Dina also blamed TPLF for destabilizing the country by sponsoring terrorist acts within the country and declining to embrace efforts to make them part of the reform process the country has been going through for the past two and half years.

The spokesperson appreciated the Eritrean government for not taking retaliatory measures for rocket attacks by TPLF, which was an effort to regionalize the conflict. He said that they would have hit Sudan had they accessed the means to do so.

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