11 Mar Ethiopia and AGOA: Blinken’s impending visit elevates reengagement hopes
The upcoming visit to Ethiopia by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has raised hopes for normalization and reengagement. Blinken is slated to meet with Ethiopian officials to discuss a number of concerns and introduce a fresh round of humanitarian aid.
The secretary of state will travel to Ethiopia and Niger between March 14 and 17, according to a statement issued by Ned Price, spokesperson for the US Department of State. The implementation of the cessation of hostilities signed between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the federal government will be high on the agenda. Blinken will also meet with humanitarian partners and civil society actors to discuss humanitarian assistance, food security, and human rights, according to Ned.
While in Addis Ababa, Blinken will also meet with Moussa Faki, chairperson of the African Union Commission. However, several pending agenda items await the Secretary of State in Addis Ababa.
Humanitarian aid for the country has been distorted by ongoing conflict and drought. Debt restructuring discussions, according to insiders, will also be high on the agenda.
The scope of US offerings will be determined after an evaluation of the Pretoria agreement’s progress, According to information obtained by The Reporter. The US Congress has reservations about the Ethiopian government’s delivery of aid to war-torn areas, in addition to worries about the status of the Agreement’s implementation.
“We have to ensure the Tigrayan people are actually receiving the US aid,” Congressman Brad Sherman urged the House Appropriations Committee yesterday.
Blinken is expected to announce the restoration of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as well, according to The Reporter’s sources. “AGOA has been under public scrutiny for a long time, and it can’t be announced just because Blinken visits Ethiopia. There is not even an ongoing process regarding reinstating AGOA at this moment.”
“Blinken will probably launch a new humanitarian aid package. Usually, foreign secretary visits are featured with signing ceremonies of negotiations and agreements already in the pipeline,” an official close to the issue said. The official claims Ethiopia gets nothing new just because Blinken comes.
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