Blinken discusses crises in Ethiopia and Sudan with South African and Italian foreign ministers

Blinken, who is part of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s delegation to the G20 in Rome, Italy, and COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, also discussed the coronavirus pandemic with both leaders.

The United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met on Sunday with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, and on Saturday, with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, and discussed a wide range of issues, including the crises in northern Ethiopia and Sudan.

Blinken, who is part of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s delegation to the G20 in Rome, Italy, and COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, also discussed the coronavirus pandemic with both leaders.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor 
South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor

The State Department said Secretary Blinken and Minister Pandor emphasized the strong partnership and shared priorities of the United States and South Africa. 

“The Secretary and the Minister discussed ongoing cooperation on climate change, COVID-19, and developments in Ethiopia and Sudan,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “The Secretary expressed appreciation for South African leadership on numerous common objectives, including building inclusive prosperity, strengthening health infrastructure, and promoting democratic values.”

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio 
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio

Price added that meeting with Foreign Minister Di Maio for Italy’s leadership of the G20 this year and previewed the U.S.-Italy Strategic Dialogue plenary in Washington on November 10, “Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Di Maio reaffirmed support for a sovereign, stable, unified, and secure Libya with no foreign interference and a democratically elected government.”

“They expressed shared concern about the political security and humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia, including Eritrea’s ongoing destabilizing military presence in that region. They also discussed joint efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis as well as a shared approach to Tunisia and the Sahel,” he said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa 
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (right) with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gestures as they pose for a photo prior to their talks at the Union Building in Pretoria

The crisis in Ethiopia has lingered for a year and left thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine. In Sudan, the military overthrew the civilian government last week, angering Washington. President Biden reacted to the coup in Sudan this week and called on the military to hand power back to the civilian authorities. But so far, that call has not been heeded.

US President Joe Biden attends the G20 of World Leaders Summit in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, October 30, 2021. Photo: White House 
US President Joe Biden attends the G20 of World Leaders Summit in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, October 30, 2021. Photo: White House

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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