Ethiopian Ambassador Slams WHO Director General Tedros over Tigray Conflict
Hirut Zemene Kassa, Ethiopian ambassador to the European Union

The Ethiopian ambassador to the European Union has spoken sharply against World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, calling his criticisms against the Ethiopian government and its role in the Tigray conflict in northern Ethiopia “unprofessional” and that he was using his position “degrading” and “abusing”. 

The way he’s handling the matter is completely unprofessional to me,” Hirut Zemene said in an interview in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon. 

“He is a United Nations figure … The role he is playing right now … is very, very much degrading his position. I would think he would think about global health — like he says ‘global health for all’ — around the world, around Ethiopia, not only in one particular area.”

Tedros, an ethnic Tigrayan, has publicly denounced the Ethiopian government in the past for its blockade in the Tigray region, calling it a “complete blockade” on health and humanitarian aid.  

Zemene once worked under Tedros when the latter was foreign minister of Ethiopia under the previous government, and she helped celebrate Tedros’ election as WHO Director General in May 2017.

On Wednesday, however, she said he has been “abusing his position” at the WHO by commenting “about only one area” in northern Ethiopia — “a very shameful thing to do.”

“Financially, the government has supported him, invested resources in him, to be a representation of the world in the WHO, coming from Ethiopia,” Zemene said. 

Read more on Devex

Image Credits: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré.

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