ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Ethiopia next
week will mainly focus on exchanging views on aspects of peace
and security, terrorism and further strengthening the
U.S.-Africa cooperation on democracy and development, according
to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The U.S. State
Department announced on Thursday that Ethiopia is one of the
five African countries that Tillerson will visit in his first
working visit to the continent from March 6-13.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated on Friday that Tillerson’s
working visit to Ethiopia, in particular, “is aimed at
exchanging views on aspects of peace and security in the Horn of
Africa and the continent at large, and the fight against
The ministry further
indicated that looking for ways to further strengthen the
U.S.-Africa cooperation on democracy and development is expected
to be another target of Tillerson’s visit.
According to the
ministry, Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopian Foreign Minister, during
his visit to the United States a fortnight ago had expressed
Ethiopia’s commitment to reinforce the partnership with the
United States in various areas.
“Ethiopia and the
United States reiterated their continued commitment to reinforce
their partnership in areas, including the promotion of regional
peace and security, the fight against terrorism, enhancing
development, the buildup of democracy and the protection of
human rights,” the ministry said.
According to the
state department, Tillerson’s first official trip to Africa will
take him to Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria.
expected to meet officials of the five countries as well as the
leadership of the African Union Commission (AUC) based in
Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, in a bid to further the U.S.
partnerships with the African continent, it was noted.
deliver U.S. Africa policy next week before visit
WASHINGTON United States (Xinhua) --
The State Department said Friday that U.S.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will outline his country’s
relationship with Africa and its “desire to strengthen ties with
Prior to his visit
to Africa, Tillerson is scheduled to deliver the remarks at
George Mason University in the U.S. state of Virginia.
Tillerson will kick
off his maiden trip to Africa next week as the country’s chief
diplomat, which will bring him to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya,
Chad and Nigeria on March 6-13.
In a special
briefing about his trip via teleconference earlier on Friday,
senior State Department officials said his trip is “an outgrowth
of” and “a kind of follow-up” on the ministerial meeting
involving 37 ministers from Africa in November, 2017.
“Africa in the year
2100 is going to form 40 percent of the world’s population, over
30 percent of the work force, yet also have the potential of
having 50 percent unemployment rate, which is very high. That is
a security issue, an economic issue problem, but more important,
it’s also an opportunity,” said the officials.
Speaking of the U.S.
self-positioning in Africa, officials said “it’s going to be
based on - not only on economic and commercial development, but
in the context of building strong institutions, governance, and
security, as well as human rights.”
accommodates the only permanent U.S. military base on the
continent, has become “the main refueling spot for all U.S.
naval ships. U.S. officials said the country “is not just a base
for counterterrorism but also to support the security of all the
other countries in the region.”
In Chad, Tillerson
will try to help the nation get off the visa sanctions list. “We
also want to give Chad importance because they’re part of the G5
(a regional security bloc in central Africa) countries and their
troops have made a tremendous amount of sacrifices in providing
troops in supporting Mauritania and Niger and other countries in
the G5 area.”
In Kenya, which
houses the U.S. largest embassy in Africa, Tillerson is expected
to discuss with the ruling government and opposition how to
build strong institutions and “advance political and economic
reform that will help in the transition process.”
Tillerson will discuss with the Ethiopian government
“institution building, human rights, engagement, community
leadership,” among others.
“And also because of
its 8-percent economic growth rate, it really is - becomes an
engine for economic growth for the entire region. So that’s - so
we’re trying to look at how we can work with that country,” the
The two sides will
discuss the agricultural sector where Ethiopia has economic
advantages and opportunities, such as coffee and flour as well
as the development of girls’ education and expanding
electrification to help the country’s industrialization.
In Nigeria, the two
sides will discuss issues that are “much more broad-based,
comprehensive, and really interrelated with security,” since
“what happens in Nigeria is going to affect the Lake Chad
region, and that includes Cameroon as well as the G5 countries,”
said the officials.
“Some of the issues
and challenges that we’ll be working on is political
institutions, political dialogue, reconciliation, supporting
community-based development, helping growth, education. And then
on the other hand, is the security, particularly in the north,”
said the officials.
“It just can’t be
constantly a kinetic strike operation or bring in U.S. military.
That s not the answer,” they said. “So those are some of the
things that we’re looking at, but again, it’s complex, no easy
answers, and I think we probably need to have a much more
“So we’re very
hopeful. We’re very high on Africa,” they said.
The visit comes
amidst lingering worldwide uproar over Trump’s vulgar remarks
towards African and Latin American nations.
In January, Trump
reportedly used the word “shithole countries” to describe
African nations as well as Haiti and El Salvador while
discussing immigration issues with U.S. lawmakers.
The African Union
issued a statement calling Trump’s remarks outrageous and
shock, dismay and outrage, the African Union strongly believes
there’s a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its
people by the current (U.S.) administration,” the statement
Trump denied using
vulgar terms, saying the language he used was “tough, but this
was not the language used.”