Guterres shocked by Ethiopia’s decision to expel 7 UN officials

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to the media on Thursday, January 28, 2021, at the UN headquarters in New York. (Photo: UN/IANS)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed shock over the news that the Ethiopian government has declared seven UN officials, including senior humanitarian officials, as persona non grata and ordered them to leave the country.

“All UN humanitarian operations are guided by the core principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. In Ethiopia, the UN is delivering life-saving aid, including food, medicine, water, and sanitation supplies, to people in desperate need. I have full confidence in the UN staff who are in Ethiopia doing this work,” Guterres said in a statement on Thursday.

He said the world body is committed to helping Ethiopian people who rely on humanitarian assistance, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are now engaging with the government of Ethiopia in the expectation that the concerned UN staff will be allowed to continue their important work.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia declared seven UN officials persona non grata for “meddling in the internal affairs” of the country.

They were given 72 hours to leave the country.

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