E.U. Suspends Aid To Ethiopia Over Conflict

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) – The European Union has suspended some 88 million euros ($107 million) in support of Ethiopia, citing reports of ethnic-targeted killings and possible war crimes in the Tigray region.

E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the money was put on hold until humanitarian agencies are granted access in Tigray. Borrell stressed that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed now needs to live up to the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded in 2019.

In a statement monitored by Worthy News, Borell wrote that the conflict in Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray area had become more than an internal “law and order” operation. He called it a direct threat to the stability of the whole region.

The E.U. received “consistent reports of ethnic-targeted violence, killings, massive looting, rapes, forceful returns of refugees and possible war crimes,” he explained.

Borell clarified that the 27-nation bloc would not disburse financial assistance to Ethiopia as long as these atrocities continue and aid workers have no access to needy people in Tigray.

Conflict erupted in Tigray on November 4 between Ethiopian federal forces and the party ruling the northern region. Thousands have been killed, millions displaced, and more than 50,000 refugees have fled to nearby Sudan.


The government of Abiy, a devout Pentecostal Christian, declared victory over the rebellious leaders at the end of November. But they also vowed to fight on. The United Nations says there are now reports that clashes continue in various parts of Tigray.

Amid the turmoil, many are suffering, explained Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the U.N. secretary-general. “Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that today hundreds of thousands of people are facing food and water shortages, lacking health service. There is also a reported rise in malnutrition and water-borne diseases,” he warned.

“Meanwhile,” he added, “humanitarian relief operations continue to be constraint by the lack of full, safe, and unhindered access to Tigray.” The spokesperson noted that this was “caused both by insecurity and bureaucratic obstacles imposed by federal and regional authorities.”

He said: “We renew our call on all parties to allow the immediate and safe passage of humanitarian personnel and supplies to Tigray. So we can reach all people who need help.”

The United Nations also said there are significant international law violations in Tigray at two refugee camps, home to people who fled repression in neighboring Eritrea long before the latest conflict. It claimed satellite imagery show fires burning and fresh signs of destruction at the Shimelba and Hitsats camps.


The U.N. refugee agency has decried the lack of humanitarian access to the camps but did not say who was responsible. It noted there had been additional military incursions over the past ten days.

It has been difficult for journalists to verify the area’s events as the government is restricting media access.

Separately the E.U. has urged de-escalation of tension between Ethiopia and Sudan. Ethiopia claims Sudan is involved in a military build-up in an area populated by Ethiopian farmers on the Sudanese side of their disputed border. But Sudan says Ethiopian military aircraft crossed the border in what it calls a “dangerous and unjustified escalation.”

The E.U.’s decision not to give more money to Ethiopia comes as a setback for the impoverished Horn of Africa nation. The E.U. had provided 815 million euros of development aid to Ethiopia over the past seven years.

That is on top of 409 million euros of projects focused mainly on supporting refugees and host communities in the troubled country.

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