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Blinken meets virtually UN relief chief, ICRC Pres. on Afghanistan, Ethiopia

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met virtually with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer about "efforts to strengthen the provision of urgently needed humanitarian assistance and other activities supporting basic human needs in Afghanistan and Ethiopia." Statement Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken highlighted the USآ’ latest contribution of over USD 308 million towards humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan and the USآ’ ongoing commitment to support the people of Afghanistan.
Blinken, Griffiths and Maurer discussed "how to further protect and support aid groups in overcoming challenges related to Afghanistanآ’s extremely difficult operational landscape to ensure that aid reaches the people who need it most and how to expand the pool of humanitarian donors." Blinken noted the Department of Stateآ’s "robust and growing engagement on womenآ’s issues in Afghanistan at senior levels, including the recent appointment of Rina Amiri as Special Envoy on Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights." Furthermore, Blinken, Griffiths and Maurer also discussed "the urgent need for a cessation of hostilities, including air strikes, in northern Ethiopia as well as steps toward facilitating a political settlement." The US top diplomat emphasized that "all parties to the conflict must allow humanitarian access and alleviate suffering for all people in need in northern Ethiopia, regardless of ethnicity." (end) si.rk