During his first visit to Africa, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will bring files on the Ethiopian war, the precarious situation in Sudan, security and counter-terrorism challenges in the Horn of Africa and East Africa. He will begin an official tour to Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal Monday, and will end next Friday.
The situation in Sudan is at the forefront of Blinken’s discussions in Africa, as he is the highest-ranking US official to visit the continent. Washington has called for a return to democracy and for the Sudanese military authorities to hand over power to civilians, while demonstrators continue mass protests against the military coup.
On Saturday, the US Embassy in Khartoum criticized the use of disproportionate force against protestors, as well as the deployment of live bullets and tear gas to disperse them.
Blinken’s itinerary excludes visits to Ethiopia and Sudan, where Abdel Fattah al-ascension Burhan’s to power triggered a serious political crisis. However, according to a senior US State Department source, both the Ethiopian issue and the situation in Sudan would be important topics of discussion during Blinken’s trip.
The US is facing African winds that are counter to American tendencies to promote democracy, and Biden has made revitalizing democracy in the US a top priority in his foreign policy since taking office, but Africa has seen radical transformations, and the Sudanese military coup was the fourth in Africa this year, following military coups in Chad, Mali, Guinea, Niger, and Madagascar.
Blinken’s visit coincides with the US’s efforts to encourage an African Union-led attempt to cease the violence between Ethiopia’s government and the Tigray Liberation Movement, which has seen tensions between the two sides skyrocket.
Hundreds of Tigrayans, as well as UN and African Union employees, were imprisoned by Ethiopian authorities. Blinken voiced alarm on Friday about the deterioration of the situation in Ethiopia, citing worries of Ethiopia’s involvement in a civil war, adding that the fight might lead to Ethiopia’s collapse and spread to other nations in the area. For the Ethiopian people, this would be devastating.
According to analysts, Blinken’s talks will include worries about rising violence and terrorism in East Africa, as well as topics like containing the (Covid-19) outbreak and climate change. Blinken’s agenda, according to US State Department sources, includes negotiating the provision of (Covid-19) vaccinations to African countries.