The Ethiopian army accuses the director of the World Health Organization of supporting Tigrayans and demands his removal


Today, Thursday, the Ethiopian army accused the Director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, of trying to buy weapons and mobilize diplomatic support for the dominant political party in the Tigray region that is fighting federal forces.

“This man is a member of that group and a criminal,” said Army Chief of Staff General Berhanu Gula in a televised statement. He called for his removal from office, but he did not provide any evidence for his accusations.

The World Health Organization did not immediately comment on the accusation leveled against Tedros, who is an Ethiopian from Tigray.

The accusation comes at a time when the organization is under great pressure in its attempts to coordinate global efforts to confront the “Covid-19” disease pandemic, after the United States, its largest funder, froze its payments due to a dispute over China. And the incidence and death of the disease are increasing again in many countries of the world.

Tedros served as Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs in a previous coalition government led by the TPLF from 2005 to 2016.

The Front ruled the country for decades as the strongest bloc in the coalition until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office two years ago.

Abiy has since included the other three regional parties in his party, but the Front has refused to join.

Berhanu accused the UN official, Tedros of using his international standing to obtain diplomatic support and weapons for the front.

He said: “He is doing everything in his power to support them, organizing campaigns to get neighboring countries to condemn the war. He worked to facilitate access to weapons for them. ”

He continued, “He tried to mobilize people using his international standing to obtain support for the front.”

Ethiopia’s unverified accusations are not sufficient to isolate Tedros, 55, who was chosen in May 2017 to become the organization’s first African director-general.

Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the organization in 2021, in line with US law that requires reporting a year before the withdrawal, after he accused Tedros of not making enough effort to hold China accountable for what he described as attempts to initially block it. On the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Tedros rejected the accusations at the time, saying, “We stand at the same distance from all countries.”

The United States was the largest funder of the Geneva-based organization and contributed more than $ 400 million in 2019, equivalent to about 15 percent of its budget.

For its part, the Ethiopian government said today that the rebels committed “serious crimes” after the outbreak of the conflict this month in the Tigray North, while the foreign policy advisor to US President-elect Joe Biden called for greater protection for civilians.

The government statement referred to reports of ethnic killings in the town of Maykadra that Amnesty International documented this week.

The conflict has claimed hundreds of lives and caused the displacement of about 30,000 to Sudan, and has raised doubts about Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ability to bring together the fractured ethnic factions in Africa’s second most populous country, ahead of the general elections scheduled for next year.

Survivors of the attack told Amnesty International staff that militias of the Tigrayan local government killed scores and possibly hundreds of civilians, some of them from the Amharic community.

It is impossible to verify the information received from all parties; Due to the cutting off of internet and telephone services in Tigray and the government restrictions on entry to the area.

“As we enter the final phase of law enforcement operations against this group, we would like to remind its leaders that the brutal acts committed by their forces and their loyalists in locations such as Mecadra represent serious crimes, whether under Ethiopian or international law,” the government statement said.

And Anthony Blinken, Biden’s foreign policy advisor, called on Thursday for greater protection for civilians.

He wrote on Twitter: “We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia and reports of targeted ethnic violence and the threat to peace and security in the region. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front and the Ethiopian authorities should take urgent steps to end the conflict, empower the humanitarian operation and protect civilians. ”

The Ethiopian government statement came a day after the issuance of arrest warrants for 76 army officers, which the government said were implementing the “agenda” of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

A diplomat who follows the conflict said that Ethiopian federal forces were trying to advance on major roads from the south to the northwest of Mikkeli, and were about 200 km from the capital of Tigray.


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