NAIROBI, Kenya – (AP) – The Ethiopian government on Friday denied allegations that they were trying to “suffocate the Tigray people” by denying them much-needed food and other aid, despite transportation and communication links to the region serving the is threatened by famine, have continued to be interrupted.
Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen spoke to reporters the day after the demolition of a bridge that is crucial for access to a large part of the 6-million-inhabitant region. Amhara authorities have occupied western Tigray and displaced hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tigrayans.
âThe assumption that we are trying to suffocate the Tigran people by denying humanitarian access and using hunger as a weapon of war is beyond all borders. There is absolutely no reason for us to do this. These are our people, âsaid Demeke.
The UN Security Council is expected to discuss Tigray on Friday, France’s UN ambassador – the current president of the council – said on Thursday.
Ethiopia’s government is facing increasing international pressure as it continues to cut the region off from the rest of the world. In a startling twist earlier this week, Ethiopia declared a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire while pulling back from Tigray forces.
The World Food Program said in a statement on Friday that a second important bridge leading to Tigray was destroyed on Thursday, while Ethiopia has not allowed WFP flights with the entry of UN or other aid workers since June 22, now again Recorded after fighting ceased on June 24, but “serious challenges” remain.
“If the supply routes to Tigray are not fully opened and the conflicting parties continue to disrupt or endanger the free movement of freight, human lives will be lost,” said WFP. The UN agency said trucks were loaded and ready to replenish their near-depleted food supplies in Tigray, where 5.2 million people are in need of emergency food aid.
Up to 900,000 people in Tigray are facing famine in the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade, the United States said. A new humanitarian update from the United Nations, released late Thursday, said: “The power, telecommunications and internet outage across the Tigray region will only worsen the already dire humanitarian situation.”
The Ethiopian Foreign Minister said the government has a roadmap for dialogue to resolve the Tigray crisis that is expected to include “grassroots members of the (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) willing to choose a peaceful path”. But Tigray forces now control most of the region and have demanded that Ethiopia return basic services before any talks.
“A ceasefire does not mean disconnecting a region from electricity or destroying critical infrastructure,” tweeted EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday. “A credible ceasefire means doing everything we can to ensure that aid reaches the millions of children, women and men who urgently need it.”
The security situation in Tigray was generally calm following the withdrawal of the Ethiopian armed forces and forces from neighboring Eritrea, accused by witnesses of the worst atrocities of the war.
Officials from Eritrea, an enemy of the Tigray leaders after a 1998-2000 war on their border, failed to respond to requests for comment.
Amhara authorities have warned Tigray troops not to retake western areas of the region. But the Tigray Forces spokesman told the Associated Press this week that they would âridâ the region of âenemiesâ.
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