US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Ethiopia next week, the State Department said on Friday, as concerns linger over the implementation of the peace agreement following the conflict that left tens of thousands dead and millions uprooted.
The visit, set as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has endeavored to show he is fully restored on the world stage following the two-year Tigray war, comes as foreign troops remain within the region and bureaucratic hurdles hamper the humanitarian response.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Blinken will also visit Niger, an important US counterterrorism partner, during the trip, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. It will be the first-ever visit to Niger by a US secretary of state, Price said.
Blinken's visit to Addis Ababa and Niamey is one of a slew of high-level visits the Biden administration has planned to Africa this year in an effort to counter the influence of China and Russia on the continent.
Blinken will discuss the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement in Ethiopia, the State Department said, adding that he will also meet with humanitarian partners and civil society actors to discuss humanitarian assistance, food security and human rights.
The Ethiopian government's two-year conflict with forces in the northern Tigray region ended last November when the two sides signed a deal. Both sides blamed each other for widely documented atrocities, including massacres, rape and detentions without trial.
The war pitted the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) against federal troops, who were also backed by fighters from nearby Amhara region and Eritrea.
Allegations of abuses, especially sexual violence, have persisted also after the deal was signed according to half a dozen humanitarians in the region.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While in Addis Ababa, Blinken will also meet with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The travel to Niger comes at a critical time for West Africa, where groups linked to Islamic State and al-Qaeda continue to carry out routine attacks on civilians and the military despite costly interventions from international forces.
What began as a Mali-based insurgency in 2012 has since ballooned into a regional network of competing Islamist groups that operate across large areas of landlocked Niger, Burkina Faso and beyond.
The violence has killed thousands and displaced millions.
Blinken will meet President Mohamed Bazoum and Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou in Niamey to discuss diplomacy, democracy, development and defense, Price said.
Russia’s Lavrov visits Sudan on diplomatic push in Africa’s Sahel
Blinken kicks off Africa tour to counter Russia’s growing influenceUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in South Africa on Sunday to kick off a three-nation visit aimed at countering Russian influence on the ... World News
Blinken says US investing in Africa without imposing unsustainable debtUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday his country was investing in Africa without imposing unsustainable levels of debt, as he ... World News
Russia’s Lavrov says conversation with Blinken on sidelines of G20 was ‘constructive’Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that a conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the G20 ... World News
Jill Biden: US committed to ensuring African voices ‘valued’US first lady Jill Biden told an enthused crowd of Namibian leaders on Thursday that the futures of the US and Africa are “intertwined,” saying that ... World News