The Ethiopian government has told seven senior UN officials to leave the country, accusing them of “meddling in internal affairs”.
A statement from the foreign ministry said the officials – who include staff from the UN humanitarian agency, the UN human rights office and the children’s agency, Unicef – must leave Ethiopia within 72 hours.
The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, said he was shocked by the news, adding: “In Ethiopia, the UN is delivering lifesaving aid – including food, medicine, water and sanitation supplies – to people in desperate need. I have full confidence in the UN staff who are in Ethiopia doing this work.”
The news followed warnings from UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths this week that Ethiopia’s de facto blockade of aid has imposed famine on hundreds of thousands of people in the country’s northern Tigray region, which has been racked by conflict for nearly a year.