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US’s Blinken meets with Ethiopian officials to mend bilateral ties

In an effort to strengthen ties after friction over the two-year war in the Tigray region, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister in Addis Ababa.

A lot of work is required. Strengthening the peace that has already taken root in the north is probably the most crucial thing, Blinken told reporters after the meeting on Wednesday.

Blinken was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the leaders of the Tigrayan forces that fought the central government in the war in the north after he and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen exchanged coffee before their meeting.

We need to revive our enduring relationships so that we can move forward, Demeke said. On Thursday, the top US diplomat will travel to Niger, a country in West Africa that has been battling armed groups.

The administration of President Joe Biden is working to strengthen ties with African nations in the face of competition from China and Russia, and Blinken’s trip is the most recent in a series of trips to the continent by senior US officials.

During the Tigray war, which claimed tens of thousands of lives before a peace agreement was reached last November, the US was outspoken in its criticism of alleged atrocities committed by Ethiopian forces and their allies.

Wide-ranging restrictions were placed by Washington on Ethiopia’s access to economic and security aid, as well as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a duty-free trade program that has benefited the US textile industry.

Ethiopia, the second-most populous country in Africa and a long-standing alliance of the United States in East Africa, accused Washington of interfering in its internal affairs and threatened to review the two countries’ bilateral relations.

The most serious claims of wartime human rights abuses have been refuted by it.
This week, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee stated that further action by the government was needed to “break the cycle of ethnic political violence” in order to restore normal US relations with Ethiopia.

The state finance minister stated last year that the Tigray war was delaying Ethiopia’s efforts to restructure its debt and obtain a loan from the International Monetary Fund. Although Tigray has now received humanitarian aid thanks to the peace agreement, there is still a great need since the conflict has forced hundreds of thousands to starve to death.

Humanitarian workers in the area and rights organizations in the area claim that allegations of abuses, particularly sexual violence, have persisted since the agreement was signed.

According to aid workers, armed groups from the neighboring Amhara region are occupying sizable portions of territory in contested areas of western and southern Tigray while Eritrean troops continue to be stationed in a number of border regions. Attempts to reach the government spokesperson for Eritrea for comment have gone unanswered. One who spoke

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