WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on the diversion of U.S. food aid in Ethiopia:
“It is deplorable that U.S. government food aid, which was intended to help prevent the mass starvation of innocent civilians in Ethiopia, has been diverted by criminals in a carefully coordinated, widespread, and systematic scheme to profit materially and strategically from that aid. This should infuriate every American taxpayer. The first principle of effective foreign aid is to do no harm – which the Biden Administration has failed miserably to do here.
“U.S. agencies have been busy highlighting their self-proclaimed progress at getting food to those in need and ending a war that has destroyed millions of innocent lives. Yet, we now know that leaders at the top of these organizations in Washington, New York, and Rome were aware that implementers on the ground could not guarantee the aid was getting into the right hands. It adds insult to injury that this occurred as the world experiences a global food shortage. This is unacceptable.
“The issue of food diversion is just part of a pattern of behavior with the Ethiopian government. It is foolish to think that the Ethiopian government is working with us in good faith – and we cannot be fooled again. The lack of oversight and guardrails of U.S. humanitarian assistance should not stand.”