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Ethiopian This Week

U.S. willing to facilitate talks between Ethiopia, Eritrea: Donald Yamamoto

December 2, 2017 12:46 pm Published by
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The United States would be willing to help facilitate conversations between Ethiopia and Eritrea to try to ease tensions between the two sides, Acting U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and a former US ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, Donald Yamamoto told a briefing this week. Speaking on the eve of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s high-level meeting with 37 African foreign ministers in Washington on Thursday and Friday, Yamamoto said that US is actively committed to supporting a resumption of the peace talks between Ethiopia and Eritrea after both countries reiterated their readiness to resolve their decades-long border dispute.
Although there has not been major war since direct hostilities ended in 2000, both countries have been fighting through their proxies: armed rebel organizations that they host and support against each other. Their proxy war has spilled over to Somalia.
The high-level event, described as the largest African foreign policy event to date under President Donald Trump, on November 16 and 17 will include discussions on trade and investment, counterterrorism, and good governance. In addition to the ministerial attendees, African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and other A.U. representatives will attend.
Saying that the US has been working with Ethiopia with regards to regional security since the era of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the current Prime Minister Hailemarim Desalegn, Donald Yamamoto said that conflicts such as the cross-border clashes in the Oromia and Somali areas are caused by lack of good governance, high unemployment, and economic injustices. Especially, good governance is one the biggest challenges facing Prime Minister Hailemarim, he said.
He also talked about water shortages in several regions, citing instances of farmers who used to produce three times per year now struggling to produce only once.The fact that Khat, mild narcotic leaf, is replacing coffee crops in regions such as Harar should be reason for concern, he said.
The Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said the goal of the meeting is to craft policy that goes beyond aid to build mutually beneficial partnerships.
“If you look at the United States and our approach to not just Africa, but in the other regions of the world, it’s a much more multidimensional, very complex approach,” Yamamoto said. “It is not just only humanitarian assistance, but also developing capacity infrastructure, and also we’re looking at capacity building. In other words, we’re looking at how we can have sustainable economic growth.”  Source ( Ethiopia Observer)

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