UN Secretary-General António Guterres voiced his shock on Thursday after the Ethiopian Government declared seven UN staff persona non grata, ordering them to leave the country within 72 hours.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet that five members of the UN humanitarian affairs officeOCHA, including senior leaders, were being ordered out of the country.

And as well the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative, and a team leader from the UN human rights officeOHCHR.

As a reminder that all UN humanitarian operations are guided by “the core principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence”, the UN chief’s statement reacting to the expulsion order.

Antonio Guterres added that in Ethiopia, “the United Nations is delivering lifesaving aid, including food, medicine, water, and sanitation supplies, to people in desperate need”.

Some 5.2 million people currently need help in the country’s northern regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar, after heavy fighting erupted last November between central Government troops and those loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The tweet from the foreign ministry, said that it was ejecting the UN officials for allegedly “meddling in the internal affairs of the country”, according UN News.

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