PM Abiy, US State Secretary Blinken Hold “fruitful” Talks on Range issues

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday held talks with the visiting United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on a wide range of national, bilateral and regional issues of significance to Ethiopia and the US.

Blinken arrived in Addis Ababa last night as part of his two-nation tour in Africa which he said would focus on discussing “shared global and regional priorities.”

Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen received Blinken and discussed a wide range of matters spanning from the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement (CoHA) to Ethiopia’s economic situation and regional peace and security.

Blinken’s visit comes months after the signing of the peace deal by the federal government and TPLf, ending a two-year conflict in northern Ethiopia.

The two sides “remarked on the positive development” of the CoHA and the AU-led disarmament, demobilization, and rehabilitation process, and the work of the Ethiopian Rehabilitation Commission, spokesperson of foreign affairs ministry Meles Alem told reporters after the meeting.

Demeke and Blinken also discussed the formation of the interim regional administration in the Tigray Region and the ongoing nationwide consultations on Transitional Justice policy options that will bring about accountability and redress for victims were also among the discussion points, the spokesperson said.

On the economic front, Meles noted that their discussion touched on the importance of supporting Ethiopia’s economic reform in the context of mitigating and adapting to climate change, and rehabilitating and reconstructing infrastructure in the Tigray, Afar, and Amhara regional states.

Demeke also explained to Blinken about Ethiopia’s efforts to maintain the AU-led Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks, fight against terrorism in Somalia, put relations with Sudan on a positive trajectory, and provide support for peace in South Sudan, according to Meles.

Demeke and Blinken then joined Prime Minister Abiy in the high-level meeting between Ethiopia and the US.

“We held in-depth discussions on various domestic, bilateral & regional issues of mutual interest,” Abiy said in a tweet.

“We have agreed to strengthen the long-standing bilateral relations b/n our countries with a commitment to partnership,” he added.

Abiy’s foreign policy advisor Taye Atske Selassie described the meeting as “a very productive and fruitful… that reinvigorates and revitalized the longstanding and historic relationship between Ethiopia and the USA.”

Blinken is expected to hold more discussions with regional and federal government officials on the implementation of the peace deal and humanitarian assistance.

Secretary Blinken will also meet with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The meeting will also give the chance “to follow up several issues raised in discussions during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit last December, as per the US assistant Secretary of state for Africa.

Belinken will then visit Niger where he plans to shore up efforts to counter the expansion of jihadist groups in the Sahel.

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