US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Visits Ethiopia to Strengthen US-Africa Partnership

On March 15, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ethiopia and met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen to discuss the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement and the transitional justice in Northern Ethiopia.[0] The US-Ethiopia partnership, which has been established since 1903, was highlighted at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in December 2020, and the US has provided over $3 billion in humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia since 2020.[1]

Blinken has announced $331 million in new humanitarian assistance for Ethiopia for the year 2023, channeled through the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.[2] The assistance will provide food, shelter, safe drinking water, sanitation, healthcare efforts, education and other key services for Ethiopians.[3] In their meeting, Blinken and Abiy discussed the “significant progress” made in implementing the peace agreement, including “improved humanitarian access and restoration of basic services.”[4]

The US government put in place broad limitations on financial and defense help to Ethiopia and revoked access to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a tariff-free trade scheme that has been highly advantageous for the American textile industry.[5]

The US is working to strengthen ties with African nations in the face of competition from China and Russia, and Blinken's trip is the most recent in a series of trips to the continent by senior US officials.[5] “To put that relationship in a forward trajectory, we will continue to need steps by Ethiopia to help break the cycle of ethnic political violence that has set the country back for so many decades,” said Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee.[4]

The US is committed to its long-term partnership with Ethiopia and will continue to support the country with humanitarian assistance, as well as accountability for the atrocities perpetrated by all parties during the conflict.[6]

0. “US Secretary of State, Blinken to visit Niger” Vanguard, 13 Mar. 2023, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/03/us-secretary-of-state-blinken-to-visit-niger/

1. “Most travelled US Secretary of State Blinken heads to Ethiopia and Niger” defenceWeb, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.defenceweb.co.za/joint/diplomacy-a-peace/most-travelled-us-secretary-of-state-blinken-heads-to-ethiopia-and-niger/

2. “News: Blinken expresses “concerns about situation in Oromia”, need for resolution through dialogue; announces $331 …” addisstandard.com, 15 Mar. 2023, https://addisstandard.com/news-blinken-expresses-concerns-about-situation-in-oromia-need-for-resolution-through-dialogue-announces-331-m-in-new-humanitarian-assistance

3. “US announces $331m in new aid to Ethiopia as Blinken meets Abiy” Al Jazeera English, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/15/us-announces-331m-in-new-aid-to-ethiopia-as-blinken-meets-abiy

4. “Blinken discusses need for accountability for atrocities during Ethiopia visit” WENY-TV, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.weny.com/story/48556253/blinken-discusses-need-for-accountability-for-atrocities-during-ethiopia-visit

5. “United States has promised Ethiopia $331 million to help the country heal from recent war” Business Insider Africa, 16 Mar. 2023, https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/markets/the-united-states-has-promised-ethiopia-dollar331-million-to-help-the-country-heal/ndsxdnr

6. “Ethiopia hopes Blinken's visit will help the peace process” KLCC FM Public Radio, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.klcc.org/npr-world-news/2023-03-15/ethiopia-hopes-blinkens-visit-will-help-the-peace-process

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