On the latest trip by a senior US official to Africa as China and Russia makes inroads on the continent, Blinken offered $331 million in new humanitarian aid but stopped short of backing Ethiopia’s readmission to a major trade pact.
The top US diplomat said greater economic relations with Ethiopia depended on its commitment to both “reconciliation and accountability” over the war, which the United States estimates has cost about 500,000 lives. He met for an unusually long two and a half hours with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was angered during the war after Blinken alleged that crimes against humanity had been committed.
Blinken also met representatives of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and said that both sides voiced commitments to implementing the November 2 peace accord brokered in South Africa by the African Union, with US support. He also held talks with human rights groups and said they had reported “a very significant drop in human rights violations and abuses in Tigray” since the agreement.
Abiy, who did not let journalists into his meeting with Blinken, wrote on Twitter that he agreed with him to “strengthen the longstanding bilateral relations (between) our countries with a commitment to partnership”.
Today I have met with @SecBlinken Anthony J. Blinken, where we held in-depth discussions on various domestic, bilateral & regional issues of mutual interest. We have agreed to strengthen the long standing bilateral relations b/n our countries with a commitment to partnership. pic.twitter.com/L7r8ElNmuC
— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) March 15, 2023
Blinken announced new humanitarian assistance worth more than $331 million to Ethiopia, which is also grappling with a record drought in its southern and southeastern regions. The new aid, which brings total US humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia to more than $780 million in the US fiscal year 2023, is intended “for everyone — not one group or region”, Blinken told reporters.