Addis Standard staff
Addis Abeba, August 26/2021 – The U.N. Security Council will convene today in person for an open briefing and closed consultations on the situation in the Tigray region under the “Peace and Security in Africa” agenda item.
On April 22, following a closed door meeting held on April 14, members of the SC reached at a consensus and issued a statement calling for “a scaled up humanitarian response and unfettered humanitarian access to all people in need, including in the context of the food security situation” in Tigray regional state.
Humanitarian organizations are since sounding the alarm at the inadequate amount of humanitarian access into the war-torn region. On August 19, the Administrator of The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power issued a warning that “in Tigray, where hundreds of thousands are facing famine, food warehouses are virtually empty. This week, for the first time in nine months of conflict, aid workers will run out of food to distribute to the millions of people who are going hungry. USAID and its partners as well as other humanitarian organizations have depleted their stores of food items warehoused in Tigray.”
However, in a briefing he gave today to diplomats of donor countries, leaders of humanitarian agencies and stakeholders operating in Ethiopia on current situations for humanitarian operator, Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister a Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the “government of Ethiopia has been seriously taking humanitarian support to the Tigray region and facilitating all the necessary support to humanitarian actors despite the unwarranted invasions of the Amhara and Afar regions by the TPLF.”
Secretary-General António Guterres will brief the Council during the open session, while Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths is expected to brief during the closed consultations.
The meeting was requested by Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the UK, and the US. A representative of Ethiopia is expected to participate in the open briefing under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
The security situation in Tigray is a likely focus of today’s meeting. Although the Ethiopian government said it declared a unilateral ceasefire on 28 June after the Tigray Forces that includes members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), retook the Tigrayan regional capital Mekelle, violence on the ground has persisted.
On 10 August, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called on all eligible civilians to join the army to fight against the forces led by the TPLF. Two days later, the Oromo Liberation Army—an armed group which seeks self-determination for the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and is designated as a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government—and the TPLF announced the formation of an alliance to fight the Ethiopian government. AS