Ethiopia’s FM Holds Talks with EU Crisis Management Commissioner

ADDIS ABABA – Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, has held talks with the visiting Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management on various issues including humanitarian aid delivery in Tigray region.

“The two sides have discussions over the commendable efforts that the government has been undertaking so far and ways to mitigate observed challenges in delivering humanitarian support to affected people in the Tigray region,” the Ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.

It also says the commissioner appreciated the improved access in the region that cut bureaucratic hurdles while he stressed the need to intensify the campaign to reach inaccessible rural areas with humanitarian support.

According to the ministry, Lenarčič commended the agreement of the Ethiopian Human rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN to jointly investigate alleged human rights violations in the region.

He also appreciated the announcement of the withdrawal of Eritrean troops underscoring the need to expedite the process, it added.

A day before his arrival, the commissioner announced a new 53.7 million euros humanitarian aid for the most vulnerable people in Ethiopia, including those affected by the conflict in Tigray.

The Deputy Prime Minister said, despite a commendable improvement in Tigray, the government is still facing enormous challenges to tackle there.

“The government is ready to mitigate the problems observed in the region and partners would register better results in this regard if they constructively engage in supporting the government’s genuine efforts than wasting time in throwing unnecessary criticisms,” he said.

At least 4.5 million people are in need of humanitarian support in the northern region of Ethiopia following the recent conflict that broke out in early Nov, last year.

Many of the humanitarian partners and aid agencies are still concentrated in Mekelle, said Mitiku Kassa, head of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission of Ethiopia (NDRMC), at the meeting.

These agencies have covered only 7% of the non-food items and 30% of food items supplied to address the total people in need of aid.

In this regard, the government is still the major player in serving the needs of affected people in the region, and the international community is expected to scale up humanitarian support.

He said six Woredas that were not reachable for humanitarian support have now become accessible with a military escort since the past 15 days expanding access to areas in the region.