ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Widespread conflict in Ethiopia that has driven tens of thousands of refugees from their homes, killed hundreds — possibly thousands — and dragged in neighbouring countries is prompting questions in Europe about whether to hold back tens of millions of euros in aid to the country.
On Tuesday, Europe’s crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarčič will fly to Ethiopia where he hopes to convince the country’s Peace Minister, Muferiat Kamil, to end a weeks-old blockade for international aid organizations to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. He will then fly to Sudan on Wednesday where he will meet Sudanese government officials before visiting refugees in Kassala and Gedarif states on Thursday. Sudan is a temporary home for approximately 45,000 refugees who have fled the conflict.
“I wish to urge the Ethiopian authorities one more time to enable full and unrestricted access of humanitarian workers and humanitarian aid to all areas affected by fighting,” Lenarčič told POLITICO on Monday, recalling that Ethiopia hosts the second largest refugee population in Africa. “I intend to raise this issue with the Ethiopian Minister for Peace whom I hope to meet in Addis Ababa en route to Sudan.”