Ethiopian government accuses WHO Director-General of “backing Tigray rebels”

Ethiopian government accuses WHO Director-General of “backing Tigray rebels”

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP)

Ethiopia’s government has accused Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is head of the World Health Organisation, of lobbying in neighbouring countries to come to the aid of the country’s rebellious Tigray regional government with arms and other support.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation since 2017, is an Ethiopian citizen.

Ethiopian army chief, General Birhanu Jula, asserted to reporters on Wednesday that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had urged unnamed neighbors to “oppose the war and to get arms for (the Tigray People’s Liberation Front).”

“He has worked in neighbouring countries to condemn the war. He has worked for them to get weapons,” Chief of Staff General Berhanu Jula said in a press conference.

“This man is a member of that group, and he has been doing everything to support them,” Jula said.

Prime minster Abiy Ahmad launched a military campaign in the northern region of Tigray on November 4th, aimed at overthrowing its ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which he accuses of challenging his government and seeking to destabilise it.

In 2019, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed unified all parties of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition into a single unit, named the Prosperity Party.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which was a member of tHE EPRDF and holds an absolute majority in Tigray, refused to participate in the merger.

Despite the fact that the TPLF won the subsequent internationally monitored regional election in Tigray region, the Ethiopian central government refused to acknowledge the electoral results, leading to increased tensions.