UN shocked by Ethiopia’s decision to expel top officials

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The UN has expressed its shock at the expulsion of seven of its senior officials by the Ethiopian government.

Secretary-General António Guterres said it was engaging with the government “in the expectation” the affected staff could “continue their important work”.

Ethiopia earlier declared the seven “persona non grata” and said they had 72 hours to leave the country.

The UN has raised concerns in recent weeks about a “de-facto” blockade of aid to the war-torn region of Tigray.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths earlier this week said he assumed there was now famine in Tigray and urged the Ethiopian government to “get those trucks moving”.

Ethiopia’s UN mission in New York said claims of a blockade were “baseless”.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than two million have fled their homes since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray in November 2020.

He said he did so in response to an attack on a military base housing government troops there.

The escalation came after months of feuding between Mr Abiy’s government and the TPLF over the reforms he was pursuing.

Ethiopia has declared the TPLF a terrorist organisation, while it insists that it is the legitimate government in Tigray.

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