December 5, 2022

Antony Blinken asks African nations to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken visits Kakura Forest with National Geographic Kids and climate organizations, in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 17, 2021. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken visits Kakura Forest with National Geographic Kids and climate organizations, in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 17, 2021. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/

The United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Thursday urged African nations to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a phone call with Senegalese President and African Union Assembly Chairperson Macky Sall

“Secretary Blinken underscored the importance of supporting Ukraine against Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked invasion, and reaffirmed the strength of the U.S. partnership with both the AU and Senegal,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “Secretary Blinken and President Sall discussed his priorities as AU Chair, focusing on combating the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the climate crisis, and bolstering democracy on the continent.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with President Macky Sall of Senegal in Dakar on Saturday, November 20, 2021.

The United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mary Catherine Phee, on Thursday morning, called on African nations to join America in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, asserting that unity remains the best way to restore peace in Europe.

“You matter, Africa matters,” said Phee, who was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in April 2021 to serve as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs and chair of the Board of the Foreign Service. “The United States believes strongly that African voices matter in the international community, that your voices matter in the global conversation. And we want you to join the rest of the international community because unity at this moment in time is the most effective way we can return to peace and stability.”

Phee, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan during the Obama administration following a three-year assignment as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2014, called on “all free nations” in the world to speak with one voice and condemn what she described as Russia’s ‘brutal aggression’ on Ukraine.

Mary Catherine Phee has been nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and Chair of the Board of Foreign Service

“We believe that it is critical at this moment in time that the entire international community demonstrates unity and speaks with one voice against this aggression and in support of principles, timeless principles.  These include sovereignty, territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of disputes, protection of civilians,” she said.

She called on Africans to to show their support for the Ukrainian people and reject Russia’s imperialism, noting that images of destruction and suffering coming out of Ukraine were heartbreaking.

On why the United States has not issued an official statement condemning racial discrimination against Africans in Ukraine and Poland, Phee said that she has personally tweeted her condemnation and highlighted some of the steps the United States and the United Nations have taken to treat all people fleeing the conflict with dignity.

Samantha Power meets with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan

The Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development Samantha Power held a virtual meeting with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday and announced that her agency will provide a surge of COVID-19 resources to Tanzania through the U.S. Government’s Initiative for Global Vaccine Access (Global VAX). Announced in December 2021, Global VAX is a whole-of-government effort around the world to turn vaccines in vials into vaccinations in arms. 

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power

“During their meeting, Administrator Power described USAID’s ongoing efforts to work with partners to accelerate vaccine delivery and uptake across sub-Saharan Africa and discussed how Global VAX could support the Tanzanian government in expanding and accelerating its vaccination efforts. USAID is planning to program $25 million that will support expanded and new activities to help increase vaccination rates,” USAID spokesperson Rebecca Chalif said in a statement. “These funds are in addition to ongoing investments by the United States in Tanzania to prevent, treat, and monitor COVID-19, and to build health security capacities.”

Chalif added that the Administrator commended President Hassan for encouraging Tanzanians to get vaccinated, launching a COVID-19 Vaccination Acceleration Plan, setting ambitious goals to vaccinate 60 percent of the eligible population by June 2022. 

She said “President Hassan provided her perspective on Tanzania’s COVID-19 vaccination progress and indicated that Tanzania is well-positioned to accelerate its COVID-19 vaccination efforts.”

“Administrator Power and President Hassan also discussed the close partnership between the United States and Tanzania and their ongoing collaboration in the health sector, as well as in education, agriculture, environment, and democratic governance,” she added.

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