Ethiopian Ambassador, U.S. Envoy Discuss Raft of Issues including AGOA

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the US, Seleshi Bekele, and US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Michael Hammer, discussed a raft of issues including Ethiopia’s Exclusion from the AGOA trade program  

The discussion took place ahead of the US envoy’s expected trip to the horn of Africa this week.

The two envoys exchanged ideas on the current situations in Ethiopia including the humanitarian aid delivery to conflict and drought-affected areas, the African Union-led peace process, and the National Dialogue, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement today.

The trilateral negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and Ethiopia’s exclusion from the AGOA trade program, as well as the HR6600 and S3199 Bills that propose more sanctions on Ethiopia.

Regarding access to humanitarian aid, Ambassador Seleshi indicated the government’s continued commitment and cooperation with partners in creating unhindered delivery of support in the conflict and drought-affected areas.

The US Special Envoy expressed his appreciation for the tremendous improvements demonstrated by the Ethiopian government in facilitating timely and unfettered humanitarian flow, reads MoFA’s statement. He also reiterates that the US government recognizes the positive and encouraging efforts being taken by the government of Ethiopia. 

On another note, Ambassador Seleshi briefed Hammer on the status of the AU-led peace initiatives mentioning the unwavering commitment of the government to install lasting peace and stability in the country. 

He also said that despite the all-round efforts by the government to give peace a chance adding that equal commitment is paramount by other parties to bring sustainable peace to the country. 

Hammer, on his part, expressed U.S.’s readiness to support the Ethiopian people and see the peace process successful. 

The two envoys also discussed the current status of the trilateral negotiations over the GERD, during which Ambassador Seleshi briefed Hammer on Ethiopia’s balanced position on the matter and recent AU-sponsored efforts.

The special envoy, on his part, expressed hope that the three countries could reach a mutually beneficial mechanism, according to MoFA’s statement.

The US Congress has also teed up more sanctions bills in both chambers proposing not only more US sanctions but also restricting support from international financial institutions.

Given the historical partnership and long diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and the US, Ethiopia doesn’t deserve punitive measures put forward by AGOA, or the HR6600 and S3199 Bills should be discarded, said Ambassador Seleshi. 

Ambassador Hammer reflected that HR6600 and S3199 are Bills from the US congresses and engagements at that level are essential.  The progress on the five-step measures is useful to reinstate Ethiopia to AGOA benefits, according to the Special Envoy.