Ethiopia: News - Fed. Govt Accuses OCHA of Misinformation - Discuss Conditions for Humanitarian Flights to Tigray

Addis Abeba — The Federal Government of Ethiopia in a statement released this afternoon expressed disappointment at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for its inaccurate reports and statements in depicting the situation in Tigray. In the statement the Ethiopian Government accused the office of 'encouraging and complimenting the TPLF, which it explained is leading the international community to misunderstand the situation in the Tigray region.

"It is also revealing that the Office continues to refer to the outlawed group, which the Ethiopian parliament categorized as a terrorist organization, as the Tigrayan Defense Force (TDF)." the statement read, urging OCHA to refrain from issuing biased and misleading statements' in order to avoid harming cooperation between the Ethiopian Government and the organization.

In the statement, the federal government discussed the humanitarian flight arrangements to Tigray by recalling an announcement made on July 5, 2021 about giving a special permission to fly for all interested parties to provide humanitarian services in the Tigray region despite the closure of airspace in the region. "The WFP has requested flight permission yesterday for two airplanes that intend to fly passengers to the Tigray Region," the statement read, further explaining the guidelines issued by the government to better facilitate such requests.

The guidelines contain instructions and information that humanitarian operators should strictly adhere to to get permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and other responsible bodies, as stated in the statement. As per the guidelines, all flights coming from abroad or domestic airports in Ethiopia must first land at Addis Ababa airport before proceeding to Tigray. Flights coming from the prohibited airspace must also land at Addis Ababa airport before proceeding abroad or a domestic airport in Ethiopia.

Further detailing the guidelines, the statement urged all operators to submit and get approval for flight details, such as flight number, type of aircraft, the purpose of the flight, details of passenger, and type of cargo before conducting flight operations.

The statement also dictates that standard search shall be conducted at Addis Abeba Bole international airport on all departing and arriving aircraft, cargos, passengers, crews, and including bulky cargos which might need dismantling for search and screening. All passenger and cargo airplane flights are required to carry people or equipment related to only humanitarian aid missions, the federal government said.

After detailing the flight arrangements, the statement denounced reports that the federal alleges that they 'misinform the international community as if the Government of Ethiopia has been obstructing flights into the Tigray region.' The federal government stated that it wrote a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations complaining about 'the unconstructive actions of the OCHA'.

The statement concluded by declaring that details of the guidelines on the flight arrangements to the Tigray Region will soon be made public to all stakeholders and interested parties. AS

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