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Ethiopia accuses WHO boss of backing Tigray rebels

Author: Koang Pal Chang | Published: Thursday, November 19, 2020

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pictured, has been accused by Ethiopia's army chief of trying to get weapons for the dissident Tigray region | File photo

The Ethiopian army chief has accused the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, of lobbying neighboring countries to support the Tigray regional government.

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

“This man is a member of that group,” army chief of staff General Birhanu Jula said in a televised statement.

The army chief did not provide any evidence to support his claims.

The Ethiopian federal army and Tigray regional forces have been fighting for two weeks after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused the regional government of attacking a military base.

Each government regards the other as illegal after a months-long falling-out amid political reforms.

The army chief accused Tedros, a former Ethiopian foreign minister when the TPLF dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, of being a member of the TPLF and asked, “What do you expect of a person like him?”

A WHO spokesman said told the press that there was no immediate comment on the accusation against Tedros.

However, the WHO Africa chief, Matshidiso Moeti told reporters during a COVID-19 briefing that Tedros is known for promoting global health.

“What I can say in response is that I know Tedros, I know him as somebody who is passionately promoting global health, promoting the good health of people, and promoting peace,” WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti told reporters during a COVID-19 briefing.

“I think this is the extent of my knowledge of Tedros as a person.” For more, she referred to his office.

Tedros is an Ethiopian of Tigrayan descent.

He served as Ethiopia’s health minister and foreign minister from 2005-2016 in a government coalition led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The TPLF effectively ruled the country for decades as the strongest force in the coalition, until Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy took office two years ago.

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