US Secretary of state Antony Blinken on Thursday told Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of his “great concern about the humanitarian crisis” in Tigray, a region of Ethiopia targeted by a military operation.
“Secretary Blinken expressed our grave concern about the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region and urged immediate, full, and unhindered humanitarian access to prevent further loss of life,” Blinken’s spokesperson said in a statement.
The Secretary also “reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Ethiopia’s reform agenda and our support for upcoming national elections, regional peace and security, democracy and human rights, justice and accountability, and economic prosperity for all Ethiopians,” the statement added.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, launched an offensive against the dissident regional authorities of Tigray in early November, following months of mounting tensions between the two sides.
More than two million people have been internally displaced. And although people urgently need help, access to the region remains limited.
The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss the humanitarian situation in the region. All the council members have called for easing access to the populations in need of help.
The United Nations also said at the end of January it had received “disturbing” reports of sexual violence and abuse in the region. NGOs’ reports also spoke of “several thousand dead” in the fighting.