Ethiopia accuses WHO director of interfering in its internal affairs

Addis Ababa, Jan 14 (EFE).- The Government of Ethiopia today accused the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ethiopian, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, of interfering in its internal affairs and threatening the “integrity” of that UN agency. In a statement, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry reported that it has sent a letter to the WHO Executive Council to express its “objection” against the “moral, legal and professional position” of Tedros. “Although Ethiopia nominated Dr. Tedros for the highest position in the world health body, he has not lived up to the integrity and professional expectations required of his position,” the Executive said. In his opinion, the WHO chief “has been interfering in Ethiopia’s internal affairs, including Ethiopia’s relations with the State of Eritrea” and “continues to be an active member and supporter of the PFLT (Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray), which is banned as a terrorist group by the Ethiopian Parliament”. Likewise, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed, Tedros “uses his platform to mobilize the UN community against Ethiopia in addition to providing technical and financial support to the activities of the TPLF.” The Ethiopian government eventually urged the WHO Executive Board to commission an investigation into the director-general to “identify his misconduct and violation of his professional and legal responsibility.” The note was published after Tedros warned a week ago that the WHO cannot deliver medical supplies to the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray – a region plagued by a war between the federal government and the FPLT – from July 2021. The UN agency did not attribute this blockade to any side of the armed conflict. Tedros, Tigrino with the highest profile abroad, served as Ethiopian Minister of Health between 2005 and 2012 and as Foreign Minister between 2012 and 2016 in governments dominated by the FPLT. For almost three decades, the TPLF led the ethnic coalition that made up the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) until the current Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, came to power in 2018, who reformed that political formation. The Tigray war broke out on November 4, 2020, when the Abiy ordered an offensive against the FPLT -the party that ruled the region- in retaliation for an attack on a federal military base and after an escalation of political tensions. Since the end of October 2021, the TPLF managed to advance its positions to the south and threatened to march on Addis Ababa, which is also the headquarters of the African Union. The fear that the rebels could attack the capital of Ethiopia – the second most populous country in Africa and an important ally of the West – encouraged the diplomatic efforts of the international community to achieve a negotiated solution. However, the FPLT’s momentum has evaporated – at the end of December it announced the withdrawal of its troops to Tigray – and the tables have turned in favor of the government troops, while a political solution to the conflict remains in sight. Thousands of people have died and some two million people have been forced to flee their homes due to the violence, according to the UN.

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