Sisi urges efficient use of water resources nationwide    Libya is in need of one million Egyptian workers now: Libyan manpower minister to Al-Ahram    Sisi orders continuing efforts to develop roads, axes nationwide    Bilbao holds Atletico to 0-0 in Spain La Liga    Egypt's New Urban Communities Authority wins 2021 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour award    Egyptian archaeologists unearth collection of religious ritual tools at Temple of Pharaohs north of Cairo    Egypt partakes in 2 coronavirus clinical trials: Health ministry    'What a player, what a professional, what a person': Liverpool boss Klopp about Salah    Lebanon's brain drain threat to health sector: WHO director    Bombs kill at least 3 in eastern Afghanistan    Brazilian great Pele in semi-intensive care, says daughter    UN concerned about detained migrants vanishing in Libya    BREAKING: UK removes Egypt from red list of travel    Tunisia 'astonished' by Ethiopia's reaction on UNSC statement on GERD dispute    Egypt's stocks end this week in mixed notes as benchmark EGX 30 falls 1.37%    Egypt received plan from DR Congo to resume AU-sponsored GERD talks: FM Shoukry    Remittances from Egyptians abroad grow 13.2% in FY2020/21– central bank    Egypt's Dabaa nuclear plant: contribution to social and economic development    Cairo welcomes UNSC presidential statement on GERD    The Egyptian Mawlawiya troupe's concert at Al-Gumhouriya Theatre is a must go    Borhane Alaouié (1941-2021): The auteur's shadow    Jordan hosts energy meeting today to discuss transporting Egyptian gas to Lebanon    Russia permits airlines to resume flights from 49 cities to Egypt    Egypt's Abu Soma Development partners with KOMPASS Education    Sisi: coronavirus vaccines in Africa 'far less' than actual needs    Egypt gives emergency use approval for locally manufactured Sinovac/VACSERA COVID-19 vaccine    Egypt makes COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all those aged over 18 in education sector    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    Egypt denounces Ethiopia's move to start second filling of giant dam    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Egypt's Ahly is establishing a new stadium, expected to be 'sports complex'    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

US genocide expert to press Ethiopia on Tigray aid blockade
Published in Ahram Online on 29 - 07 - 2021

The U.S. official who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide is visiting Ethiopia next week to press the government to lift what the U.S. calls a blockade on humanitarian aid to the conflict-hit Tigray region, where hundreds of thousands of people now face deadly famine.

Samantha Power, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, hopes to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has asserted that 'there is no hunger in Tigray,' and with senior officials who blame the aid blockade on rival Tigray forces who have retaken much of the region and vow to pursue 'enemies'' beyond its borders.

The Ethiopian government's assertion that Tigray forces are to blame is '100% not the case,'' a senior USAID official told The Associated Press, adding that 'our primary obstacle is the government.'' The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Witnesses have told the AP this has been the problem in Tigray for months.

While the senior official said insecurity preventing movement along roads could be an issue, 'what we're seeing is (aid) convoys being turned around at checkpoints manned by Ethiopian soldiers or their proxies ... It's not a question of being turned around by Tigrayans. I think (the Tigray forces) have been messaging very clearly they're ready to support humanitarian activities.''

Power has requested a meeting with Ethiopia's prime minister, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for restoring ties with neighboring Eritrea but has since joined forces with Eritrea to wage war in the Tigray region after a political falling-out with the region's leaders. The conflict is now spreading into neighboring regions in Africa's second most populous country, long a key U.S. security ally.

Some 6 million Tigray residents have been caught in the fighting since the war began in November, when Abiy accused Tigray forces of attacking a military base. Thousands of civilians have since been killed. Now the U.S. estimates up to 900,000 face famine conditions after Ethiopian and allied forces destroyed crops, looted food supplies and threatened farmers from planting. Food prices are rising, while banks remain closed.

Recently Ethiopia's government accused humanitarian groups of supporting the Tigray forces, making life more dangerous in a region where aid workers have been harassed and at least a dozen killed.

The U.S. earlier imposed aid cuts and visa restrictions over the Tigray crisis, angering Ethiopian officials, and Power's visit will warn of 'continuing consequences'' for the government, the senior official said. There were no details, but 'the longer that this blockage goes on, the more likely we are to see additional punitive measures.''

Tigray remains almost completely cut off from the outside world. The United Nations has said some 200 aid-laden trucks are 'stuck'' in Ethiopia's neighboring Afar region on the only remaining road access to Tigray. Bridges on other routes were destroyed as Ethiopian forces retreated from the region in June.

'People are starving,'' U.N. World Food Program head David Beasley said this week, warning that the agency will run out of food for Tigray on Friday. The AP has reported that scores of people have died of starvation in the world's worst famine crisis in a decade.

Ethiopia's government on Wednesday said it stands by the unilateral cease-fire it declared in June as its military withdrew, saying it was for humanitarian reasons. The government has said the cease-fire will end once the planting season in Tigray is over, meaning September, and already authorities are supporting military recruiting drives amid concerns over a new offensive.

Abiy's spokeswoman, Billene Seyoum, accused Tigray forces of blocking the delivery of aid. 'The international community has been shockingly mute'' on the Tigray forces' actions, which include crossing into the Afar and neighboring Amhara regions, she said.

The Tigray forces this week said the establishment of multiple humanitarian aid corridors is a precondition for talks on a negotiated cease-fire.

Power during her visit will press for 'overland access'' for aid, the senior USAID official told the AP. While she is first visiting neighboring Sudan, which borders Tigray and is a potential supply route, 'right now the principal focus is on getting the Ethiopian government to allow food convoys through Ethiopia into Tigray,'' the senior official said. Other ways are being explored but would be 'inadequate to meet the scale of need.''

The WFP has said 20 convoys of 100 trucks each need to enter Tigray every month to meet needs and 'so far we've gotten one,'' the senior official said. A second convoy was attacked in Afar earlier this month. The U.N. on Wednesday said 44 trucks are now trying to reach Tigray.

The new U.N. humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, on Thursday began a six-day Ethiopia tour and plans to visit Tigray to meet with civilians, the U.N. said, in another sign of renewed international pressure.

Because of the fighting, Power is 'not permitted'' to travel to Tigray, the senior USAID official said.

And while Power has been outspoken about Tigray, she will not use the word 'genocide'' in referring to the region because the U.S. State Department is determining what legal term to use for what's occurring there, the senior official said.

'Certainly, ethnic targeting of Tigrayans, the rhetoric seen from Abiy recently, really dehumanizing rhetoric about his own citizens, is very concerning and certainly reminiscent of other conflicts in which we've seen mass atrocities committed,'' the senior official said.

Ethiopia's prime minister earlier this month described the Tigray forces as 'weeds'' and a 'cancer,'' further alarming ethnic Tigrayans who have alleged that thousands of non-combatants have been detained during the conflict because of their identity alone.

Clic here to read the story from its source.