United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres has publically asked the Ethiopian government to give him documented proof that seven UN staffers interfered in the internal affairs of that country.

Speaking directly to the Ethiopian ambassador to the Security Council, the UN boss called for proof so that he could investigate any alleged transgressions by members of the organisation he headed.

Addis Ababa last week expelled the seven humanitarian and human rights officials. Guterres has called this a violation of international law.

“We believe that Ethiopia has not the right to expel these members of the UN.  We believe Ethiopia is violating international law in doing so and we are ready to cooperate with the government of Ethiopia in relation to any situation in which the government of Ethiopia feels that any member of the UN is not behaving in total impartiality, in total independence, as humanitarian law prescribes and humanitarian principles establish. I want to tell you, Mr. Ambassador, we want to cooperate with the government of Ethiopia, because we have only one agenda in Ethiopia, and that agenda is the people of Ethiopia – Tigrayans, Amharans, Afaris, Somalis, the people of Ethiopia. The people of Ethiopia are suffering. We have no other interest but to help stop that suffering.”

UN expresses shock at the expulsion of officials in Ethiopia: 

Ethiopian Ambassador Selassie Amde has accused UN staff of making up data to claim that hunger is being used as a weapon of war and to support the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front.

Guterres later told journalists that it was his duty to defend the honour of the UN.

“ It would be very useful for me to detect, if documents are given to the UN and not given to my knowledge, then I have to investigate what has happened in my organisation.  So, I ask you please, Mr. Ambassador, to provide me with a copy of any of the written documents, written by the government of Ethiopia about any of the seven that were expelled by the Ethiopians in this regard.  And I would recall that twice, I told the Prime Minister that if there were concerns about lack of, how to say, lack of impartiality of UN staff, that I asked him, please, send me those situations for me to be able to investigate.  Twice, I asked the Prime Minister and until now I have no response to these requests.”