The EU calls on Ethiopia to reconnect the Tigre region with the world

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ADIS ABEBA, Ethiopia – The European Union says the Ethiopian government must reconnect its northern region of Tigrei with the world, as a prolonged partial blockade has left food aid for nearly 1 million hungry people left without fuel.

EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic told reporters on Tuesday that the recent increase in aid convoys arriving in Tigre was a positive development, but added that “more needs to be done” before the EU normalizes relations with the latter. per capita country in Africa with 115 million people.

“I see no justification for maintaining the blockade on banking, electricity and telecommunications,” Lenarcic said, adding that the “partial blockade” of the Tigre region is hampering humanitarian efforts, while 5.2 million people need help after 19 months of conflict.

Tigrei was largely cut off from the rest of Ethiopia after Tigrei’s forces captured the regional capital a year ago and federal forces withdrew. The truce, announced by the government in March, led to a significant increase in aid reaching Tigrei by road after months of deprivation.

Lenarcic called on the Ethiopian government to lift restrictions on fuel and money entering Tigre, and said “monitoring mechanisms” could be put in place to allay government fears that Tigre’s forces could divert fuel for military purposes. .

This month, the United Nations said enough food to feed 950,000 people is currently stuck in warehouses in the regional capital, Mekele, as there is not enough fuel to distribute in Tigray after several fuel tanks access to the region was denied.

“We have a situation where the warehouses are full, but the aid cannot come out in the province where the needs are greatest,” Lenarcic said, noting that many people in Tigre are completely dependent on such aid because they do not have access to bank money. your accounts.

Last year, amid reports of human rights violations in the conflict, the EU halted budget support for Ethiopia worth 88m euros ($ 107m).

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed this month announced the formation of a negotiating committee with Tigrei’s forces, which were declared a terrorist group by the government last year.

“I believe it should be possible for both sides to reach an agreement soon,” Lenarcic said. “It’s urgent.”

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