Biden and United Arab Emirates Crown Prince agree on importance of working together to resolve Tigray crisis in Ethiopia

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke Tuesday with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates in order to reaffirm the productive relationship between the two nations and emphasize a collaborative approach to addressing conflicts such as the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Katherine Tai in the Oval Office of the White House Thursday, March 18, 2021, to congratulate her on her confirmation as U.S. Trade Representative. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) 
President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Katherine Tai in the Oval Office of the White House Thursday, March 18, 2021, to congratulate her on her confirmation as U.S. Trade Representative. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

“President Biden and the Crown Prince agreed on the priority of working together to address conflicts, including the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia,” said a statement from the U.S. State Department.

The conflict in Tigray has been ongoing for six months now, displacing countless Ethiopians from their homes and leaving at least 4.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia during the Session "A Conversation with Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia" at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2019 
Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia during the Session “A Conversation with Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia” at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2019

Tuesday’s phone call was meant to underscore the longstanding partnership between the United States and the United Arab Emirates while identifying important issues that need to be addressed collaboratively. 

“The President congratulated the Crown Prince on the United Arab Emirates’ upcoming 50th anniversary of independence and reflected on the collaborative efforts the United States and the United Arab Emirates have undertaken on issues ranging from space to climate to defense and security,” said the statement.

As the United States emphasizes a diplomatic approach to addressing the crisis in Tigray, the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa is on the ground in Africa through May 13.

Jeffrey D. Feltman speaking at The London Conference on Afghanistan in 2014. Photo taken by Patrick Tsui 
Jeffrey D. Feltman speaking at The London Conference on Afghanistan in 2014. Photo taken by Patrick Tsui

Speaking on Special Envoy Feltman’s trip to the Horn of Africa, a U.S. State Department Spokesperson said Tuesday that he “will lead our diplomatic efforts to this area, especially when it comes to the crisis in Ethiopia as well, and as we continue to make clear that the Biden administration has made clear that Africa is a priority for our administration, and actually our special envoy will be traveling to the region soon.”

While she declined to specify the specific leaders that will be met with during this trip, the department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson said, “Special Envoy Feltman will have senior-level engagement, which includes on a range of things. It’ll be on climate change, global health, security, prosperity, and our commitment to these values when it comes to the Horn of Africa.”

As pressure from the international community to address the crisis continues to mount, the U.N. Security Council recently “expressed their deep concern about allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including reports of sexual violence against women and girls in the Tigray region, and called for investigations to find those responsible and bring them to justice.”

Noah Pitcher is a global politics correspondent for Today News Africa covering the U.S. government, United Nations, African Union, and other actors involved in international developments, political controversies, and humanitarian issues.

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