Addis Ababa, 17 March 2023 (TDI): The United States (US) Secretary of State, Antony Blinken wrapped up his two-day visit to Ethiopia on Wednesday, following a series of meetings with senior government officials and civil society leaders.

The trip was aimed at reaffirming the US commitment to supporting democratic governance, human rights, and economic development in Ethiopia, while also addressing pressing regional challenges.

Secretary Blinken became the latest senior US official to visit Africa as part of a broader push by Washington to re-engage with the continent’s leaders at a time when the region is facing stark security challenges & economic fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia

US Secretary met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen Hassen to discuss progress made on implementing the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.

To mention, this agreement is between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF).

The agreement marks an important step in efforts to silence the guns and provides a solid foundation for the preservation of Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It also marks the immediate cessation of hostilities, the resumption of unhindered humanitarian access, the restoration of services as well as healing and reconciliation.

Moreover, the need for unhindered access by international human rights monitors to conflict-affected areas was also brought to the fore. The two also discussed Ethiopia’s important regional role and ways to strengthen US-Ethiopian relations.

Meeting with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia

Also, Antony Blinken met with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali to discuss progress in Tigray Conflict and the need for accountability to reach a durable peace.

The two leaders also agreed to revitalize the strong partnership between the US and Ethiopia.

During the meeting, Secretary Blinken commended Prime Minister Abiy for his leadership in promoting peace and stability in the region, while also stressing the need for further action to address the humanitarian crisis in Tigray.

He urged the Ethiopian government to take concrete steps to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses and violations.

Prime Minister Abiy updated Secretary Blinken on the steps taken by the Ethiopian government to implement the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and emphasized his commitment to achieving lasting peace in Tigray.

He also welcomed the US’ support in this effort and expressed his desire to revitalize the partnership between Ethiopia and the US.

The two also discussed ways to deepen and expand US-Ethiopian cooperation on issues of mutual interest, including economic development, regional security, and democracy.

Meeting with the Intergovernmental Authority of Development

Furthermore, US Secretary then met with the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport of Ethiopia, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu.

The Secretary expressed appreciation for the IGAD leadership’s efforts to promote peace and stability in countries such as South Sudan, Sudan, and Somalia.

The IGAD has played a vital role in facilitating peace talks and negotiations, resulting in positive outcomes in these countries.

The US Secretary of State looked forward to continued engagement and cooperation with IGAD and other regional partners to address the challenges facing the region, including security concerns, political instability, and economic development.

For the record, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a regional organization in Africa composed of eight member states: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

IGAD was established in 1986 with the goal of promoting regional cooperation and integration, and it has since focused on addressing regional challenges such as peace and security, economic integration, and sustainable development.

Meeting with Team from US Embassy in Addis Ababa

The US Secretary Blinken met with the teams from the US Embassy in Addis Ababa and the US Mission to the African Union (AU) and their families to express gratitude for their contributions to advancing the US mission and priorities in Ethiopia and across Africa.

During the meeting, Antony Blinken thanked embassy staff and their families for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to promoting democracy, economic prosperity, and security in Ethiopia and throughout the African continent.

He highlighted the US government’s ongoing efforts to support Ethiopia’s development, including in areas such as health, education, and economic growth.

Humanitarian Aid to Ethiopia

During his visit, the US Secretary was joined by the Ministry of Finance of Ethiopia, Ahmed Shide, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as federal and regional emergency response officials from Amhara, Dire Dawa, Oromia, Somali, and Tigray regions.

He made an announcement that the US is providing more than $331 million in humanitarian aid to support various critical needs in Ethiopia, including health & nutrition services, access to clean water, combating food insecurity, and providing essential services to refugees.

This assistance is aimed at helping to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable communities and individuals who have been affected by conflict, displacement, and other humanitarian crises in Ethiopia.

Meeting with Human Rights Advocates and Leaders

Antony Blinken expressed appreciation and admiration for the commitment of human rights leaders and advocates in Addis, Ethiopia.

He welcomed their efforts to support inclusive dialogue and a victims-centered transitional justice process, which is aimed at healing the country’s divisions and providing peace and security for all Ethiopians.

To mention, Transitional justice is a process that seeks to address past human rights violations and promote accountability, justice, and reconciliation. It typically involves a combination of mechanisms such as criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations, and institutional reforms.

The significance of US Secretary Antony Blinken’s trip to Ethiopia lies in its potential to advance US-Ethiopian relations and promote peace, stability, and human rights in the region.

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The Tigray conflict has resulted in significant humanitarian suffering & political instability in Ethiopia, and Blinken’s visit was an opportunity to encourage a peaceful resolution to the conflict & support the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance to affected communities.

In a nutshell, Blinken’s engagement with Ethiopian officials and civil society leaders underscored the US commitment to democratic values and human rights in Ethiopia and across the region.