The Ethiopian government yesterday knocked the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for his “unethical” comment on the Tigray conflict.
What did the WHO DG say about Tigray?
During a press briefing on Wednesday, Tedros decried how the Tigray conflict has received little attention from world leaders, and how the 6 million people in Tigray have been “under siege” since the conflict began in 2020. Suggesting that the lack of attention was due to racial discrimination on the part of world leaders, the WHO DG said, “Maybe the reason is the color of the skin of the people in Tigray”.
What’s the government’s problem with that?
The government condemned the comment as it suggested that Tedros was taking sides in the conflict. Himself a native of the Tigray region, Tedros described the conflict as “the worst disaster on Earth”. But in response to the comment on Thursday, a spokeswoman for Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Billene Seyoum said Tedros’ comment was “unbecoming of such a high-profile position”, and asked that he recuse himself from the WHO DG post if he wants to make such comments.
What’s the latest on the conflict?
International mediation efforts have ensured that aid is now reaching the Tigray region, but aid groups say that the supply is largely inadequate for the millions of people in need. The Ethiopian government has indicated willingness to hold peace talks but insists that the talks must be led by its preferred mediator (the African Union special envoy), and with no preconditions.