Blinken says US can benefit Africa amid rising Chinese influence
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that the United States considers Africa a "major geopolitical power" where it can deliver tangible benefits that reflect democratic values, seeking to boost US influence as rival China invests heavily. "I want to be clear -- the United States doesn't want to limit your partnerships with other countries," Blinken said.Days before China holds a major meeting on Africa in Senegal, where Blinken heads Friday, the top US diplomat said President Joe Biden plans to convene a summit of African leaders.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is greatly concerned about Ethiopia’s military escalation and called for urgent negotiations over the crisis, a US State Department spokesperson said. © Provided by Al Jazeera Ethiopian soldiers parade with national flags attached to their rifles at a rally organised by local authorities in Addis Ababa [AP Photo]
The comments late on Friday came hours after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeared on the front line with the national army.
“Secretary Blinken expressed grave concern about worrying signs of military escalation in Ethiopia and emphasised the need to urgently move to negotiations,” Ned Price said in a statement.
What we've learnt from the new US policy on Africa
"Africa is the future," says US Secretary of state Antony Blinken, but what will change?Africa is the world's youngest continent, estimates say by 2050 one in four people in the world will be African. This population dividend will shape the global affairs for decades to come but many challenges remain.
Price released the statement after a phone call between Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Blinken.
On Friday, Ethiopia’s state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting reported that Abiy was on the front-line with the army fighting rebel Tigrayan forces in the northeastern Afar region.
Abiy posted the same video on his Twitter account.
“We won’t give in until we bury the enemy,” he said in a recorded statement, adding that the army’s morale was high.
Abiy’s government has been fighting Tigrayan forces for more than a year, in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions in Africa’s second-most populous nation.
On Friday, the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) said the number of people requiring food aid in the country’s north had surged to more than nine million.
Russia accuses US of 'hysteria' over possible Ukraine invasion: 'Whipped up artificially'
Russia has accused the U.S. of whipping up "hysteria" over a possible invasion of Ukraine after a buildup of troops near the border. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Sunday criticized U.S. news media for "artificially" creating panic about an invasion after the release of satellite images on Nov. 8 showed around 90,000 Russian troops gathered near Ukraine’s border. "This hysteria is being whipped up artificially," Peskov said on state television. "Those who have brought their armed forces from overseas are accusing us of unusual military activity on our own territory. That is, the United States.
The conflict began in November 2020 when Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, sent troops to Tigray to remove the region’s governing party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The TPLF dominated the federal government for nearly 30 years until Abiy took office in 2018.
After a few weeks, government forces seized Tigray’s capital Mekelle in what seemed to be a decisive victory. However, the war raged on and by June 2021 Tigrayan forces had retaken most of the region and pushed into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.
The Tigrayan forces recently reported major territorial gains, claiming this week to have seized a town just 220km (135 miles) from the capital, Addis Ababa. Much of northern Ethiopia is under a communications blackout and access for journalists is severely restricted, making battlefield claims difficult to verify.
Ethiopia's war in uncertain phase after Abiy's advance .
Ethiopia's military this week regained control of territory previously claimed by Tigrayan rebels, a potential validation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's decision to join soldiers to conflict-hit areas. Yet how the government scored its wins and what they mean for an eventual outcome in the year-old war remain points of fierce debate as fighting enters a new, uncertain phase. Just a month ago, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group appeared to be on the offensive, claiming to have captured Dessie and Kombolcha, towns on a key highway headed towards the capital Addis Ababa.