The Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, had a telephone conversation with Redwan Hussien, Ethiopia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who briefed her on developments in the security and humanitarian situation in Tigray.
Vice Minister Del Re expressed deep concern about the situation on the ground and pledged to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance and protection to all areas and populations affected by the conflict, in Tigray and neighbouring regions. Following reports of the collapse of the health sector in the Tigray region, with many hospitals reporting shortages of goods and personnel and experiencing increasing difficulties in coming to the aid of people affected by the conflict or suffering from chronic diseases, Vice Minister Del Re declared Italy's readiness to provide urgently needed support. "We have recently provided OCHA with an additional financial contribution and will continue to support other humanitarian agencies active in the field. We are ready to organise new humanitarian aid, particularly in the health sector with the Red Cross's help. We ask for the support of the Ethiopian Government to obtain the necessary authorisations."
Vice Minister Del Re emphasised that Italy has welcomed the announcement on improving access to 85 per cent of the region positively and did the same for the permission granted to UNHCR and humanitarian organisations to enter the Mai Aini and Adir Harush refugee camps. "These developments are steps forward to improve the humanitarian response and meet the growing needs of vulnerable individuals and groups" – continued Vice Minister Del Re.
Vice Minister Del Re then drew her counterpart's attention to the UN requests for international staff access to Tigray and the establishment of two humanitarian hubs, respectively in the cities of Mekelle and Shire. "It is crucial and urgent to strengthen the United Nations and other humanitarian partners' staff on the ground and their operational ability to provide humanitarian assistance to populations in need in the affected areas. We call on Ethiopia to give a strong message to the world to ensure broad and unreserved humanitarian access, in line with international principles and standards." - concluded Vice Minister Del Re.