The EU ruled on Tuesday the situation in northern Ethiopia, in the grip of bloody fighting, “militarily and humanly uncontrollable”.
The crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the scene of a conflict between its dissident authorities and the federal government, seems “out of control”, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto warned on Tuesday, returning from a mission to European Union (EU).
“The situation is militarily, humanly and on a humanitarian level, uncontrollable”, he declared during a meeting with the press in Brussels. Pekka Haavisto reiterated the urgent calls from the international community for the Ethiopian government to allow full humanitarian access to Tigray.
Influx of refugees in Europe
The Finnish minister warned that neighboring Sudan was struggling to cope with the influx of tens of thousands of Tigrayans who fled there and that these refugees may want to reach Europe, citing “the start of another crisis potentially important refugees in the world ”.
Tigray has been the scene of fighting since early November 2020, after the decision of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to send the Ethiopian army to dislodge the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that then led the region and contested for several months the authority of the federal government.
Obstruction of humanitarian aid
Ethiopian troops captured the regional capital Mekele at the end of November, but the TPLF assured it would continue the fight and clashes continue to be reported, hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid. “This operation lasted more than three months and we are not seeing the end of it,” commented Pekka Haavisto.
He lamented that Ethiopian leaders had failed to provide a “clear picture” of the situation in Tigray, especially regarding the widely documented involvement of forces from neighboring Eritrea, despite the denials of Addis Ababa and Asmara.
The European Commission in December suspended the payment of some 90 million euros (98 million francs) in budgetary aid to Ethiopia, for Addis Ababa’s failure to guarantee full humanitarian access to Tigray.
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