Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meeting with Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Amery Browne, Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the U.S. State Department in Washington. InternationalIndiaAfricaWASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Ethiopia and Niger next week for talks on a range of issues, including the cessation of hostilities between the Ethiopian government and the restive Tigray region in the north of the country, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday.”Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Ethiopia and Niger March 14-17, 2023. On March 15, the Secretary will visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he will discuss implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement to advance peace and promote transitional justice in northern Ethiopia,” Price said in a statement.
During his visit to Addis Ababa, Blinken will also hold talks with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on shared priorities, including food security, climate, energy and health, the statement said.
Blinken will also meet with humanitarian organizations and civil society actors for talks on humanitarian aid, food security and human rights, the statement said.Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee said during a press briefing that Blinken will meet with Ethiopian and Tigrayan government officials, but he will not make a stop at Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region.
Phee said that in order to put the relationship between the United States and Ethiopia in a forward trajectory, Addis Ababa needs to make steps to “break the cycle of ethnic political violence” that has allegedly set the country many decades back.AfricaState Dept. Says ‘Important’ for US to Improve Trade With Africa8 December 2022, 06:31 GMTBlinken will then make the first-ever visit by a US secretary of state to Niger on March 16 for talks with President Mohamed Bazoum and Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou in Niamey, Price said in the statement.”He will discuss ways to advance the US-Niger partnership on diplomacy, democracy, development, and defense,” he said.Blinken’s visit to the country will also include encounters with young people from Niger’s conflict zones who have completed the United Nations-sponsored Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Reconciliation (DDRR) program, which seeks to facilitate transitions into civilian life, the statement said.
The top US diplomat will also seek to advance agreements on collaboration achieved during the US-Africa Leaders Summit on issues that include regional peace, security, climate and governance, the statement added.