In an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, Billene Seyoum, the Press Secretary for the Ethiopian Prime Minister, defended a Facebook post put out by Ethiopia’s leader last week.
In his post, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called on people to fight back against rebel forces advancing on the capital. Speaking on Connect the World with Becky Anderson, Seyoum said the post was not as “alarmist” as Facebook had stated.
When challenged by Anderson on what aspect of the post was alarmist, Seyoum told CNN that the government is contesting the post’s removal saying, “calling upon the Ethiopian people to protect themselves, should not be seen in that negative light.”
Anderson also spoke to Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who responded to the interview with Seyoum and denied that the TPLF were blocking humanitarian aid in the region.
“We are trying to break the deadlock,” Reda said. “We are working with the U.N. authorities to make sure that aid reaches not only to Tigray, but also other parts of Ethiopia. We have never been blocking aid.”
Reda also said while the TPLF will continue to “take measures to neutralize a threat” they would be “more than glad to extend an olive branch” to the Ethiopian PM.
“We still are ready to extend olive branch. Abiy…has never been interested in peace, has never been interested in democracy, has never been interested in reforms. He has been standing in the way of peace.”