Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday (local time) virtually met UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer and discussed the Afghanistan situation.
"Today, Blinken 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," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
Blinken also highlighted the United States' latest contribution of more than USD 308 million towards humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan and the US's ongoing commitment to support the people of Afghanistan, the statement said, adding that the funding will go to humanitarian organisations and help provide lifesaving protection and shelter, essential health care, winterisation assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
Blinken, Under-Secretary-General Griffiths, and ICRC President Maurer discussed how to further protect and support aid groups in overcoming challenges related to Afghanistan'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, read the statement.
US Secretary of State noted the Department's robust and growing engagement on women's issues in Afghanistan at senior levels, including the recent appointment of Rina Amiri as Special Envoy on Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights.
The Secretary, Under-Secretary-General Griffiths, and ICRC President 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 Secretary 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, the statement added.