Ethiopia: Trump administration moves to cement AU-US ties

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reassured the African Union the relations with Washington remain of strategic importance under President Donald Trump, in a move aimed at cooling fears the new administration was out to sideline African countries in its foreign policy.

In a telephone conversation with African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on 8 May, Tillerson reassured the continental body of the strategic importance of the ties between the two sides, the AU said in a statement Thursday.

"The U.S. Secretary of State reaffirmed the strong bond between the U.S. and the African continent through the African Union and underlined that Africa remains of strategic importance to the U.S. and its new administration," the AUC said.

Tillerson highlighted that the U.S. was determined to support the continent in the areas of peace and security, in particular in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.  

He also extended an invitation to Mr. Mahamat to visit Washington D.C. for the next U.S.-AU Commission strategic dialogue on a date that will be mutually determined.

The invitation comes in the wake of efforts by former US President Barack Obama to strengthen high-level political consultations with the AU, which culminated in the US-Africa Summit in Washington.

Obama was the first US President to visit the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, where he gave a landmark speech on the future ties between the US and Africa and addressed issues of democracy and governance.

The AUC Chairperson thanked the Secretary of State for "the cordial phone call" and reiterated his and the Commission's availability to work with the US with a special focus on their common  agenda of peace and security, good governance, the promotion of human rights and development, the AUC said.

The latest high-level engagement between the US administration and the AU comes days after the US Congress declined to approve a plan for massive aid cuts, which would curtail US funding to some projects.

The proposed budget cuts would cut US$1 billion from the State Department's budget, which mostly benefits African countries facing humanitarian crisis as a result of drought and war, notably in Somalia and South Sudan.

-0- PANA AO/AR 11May2017

11 may 2017 19:46:00




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