CNN reporter in Nigeria asks Blinken how much time before sanctions are imposed on Ethiopia and whether Prime Minister Abiy should be ‘stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize’

"Let’s start with Ethiopia. Your administration – the President, yourself – has been calling for a ceasefire for months. And this has not happened thus far. What – how much time will you give for progress to be made before sanctions are imposed?" Busari asked Blinken who traveled to Nigeria after a trip to Kenya where he met with President Uhuru Kenyatta and discussed how to resolve the Ethiopian conflict through dialogue.

On the second day of his official trip to Africa’s most populous nation, United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken sat down with CNN Bureau Chief in Nigeria Stephanie Busari and she asked him about the raging conflict in Ethiopia between the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali address the media briefing at the conclusion of the Official Visit by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at the Union Buildings in Tshwane. January 12 
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali address the media briefing at the conclusion of the Official Visit by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at the Union Buildings in Tshwane. January 12

“Let’s start with Ethiopia. Your administration – the President, yourself – has been calling for a ceasefire for months. And this has not happened thus far. What – how much time will you give for progress to be made before sanctions are imposed?” Busari asked Blinken who traveled to Nigeria after a trip to Kenya where he met with President Uhuru Kenyatta and discussed how to resolve the Ethiopian conflict through dialogue.

“Well, first, I think it’s – it is imperative that the fighting stop and the talking start. We need to see a halt to military action, to violence. We need to see all of the parties sit down together at the table to get in place a long-term ceasefire, to start the flow of humanitarian assistance to the parts of Ethiopia that desperately need it, and to come up with a long-term, durable political solution to the differences that have emerged over the last year,” Blinken said. “But the question of how much time, I mean, this has to happen as soon as possible because with every passing day, what we’re seeing is an increase in communal tensions that really risk ripping the country apart and spilling over into other countries in the region. So, there’s tremendous urgency, which is why we are engaged every single day in supporting efforts by the African Union, by others, engaging directly ourselves to try to bring people together to actually start talking.”

Stephanie Busari with Antony Blinken 
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken with CNN reporter in Nigeria Stephanie Busari on Friday. November 19, 2021.

Busari then asked Blinken whether Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali should be “stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize,” he won in 2019. “What’s your feel?” she asked.

“Well, those kinds of decisions are up to up to the Nobel Committee, but that’s really not the issue,” Blinken said. “I think the issue now is, and as the duly elected leader of the country, for prime minister to play the role that is so vital, which is to try to bring the country together and to, again, end the violence and deal with the with the profound differences that have emerged over the last year; and, also, to make sure that people are getting the help and assistance they need. That’s his responsibility as the leader of the country.


“But it’s also incumbent upon everyone else involved to do the same thing – to engage in good faith – there’s no military solution to the challenges in Ethiopia. None of the different combatant parties can prevail by military means. That’s a path to destruction for the country and misery for the people of Ethiopia, who deserve a lot better. So, I hope that all of the leaders, starting with, again, the leader of the country, the prime minister, will do that to bring people together and work through these problems politically.”

President Joe Biden meets with White House staff in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, to prepare for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) 
President Joe Biden meets with White House staff in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, to prepare for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The reporter asked Blinken why is the intervention from the United States not yielding positive result in Ethiopia

“Why do you think the approach is not working?” she asked.

“Look, people, leaders in any country around the world are going to have to make assessments of their own interests, their own responsibilities. There’s a lot that that we can do to encourage, to support to push, to prod. But ultimately it’s up to them to make these decisions. And I also think it’s vitally important that – what we’re already seeing, which is African leadership in trying to resolve this crisis, play a central role,” Blinken said. “The African Union with former Nigerian President Obasanjo is doing exactly that – shuttling between the different parties and trying to bring them together. We’re acting in close coordination with him, supporting his efforts, other leaders on the continent, including the president here in – excuse me, in Kenya where I was just in – Kenyatta has also been playing a role. But having African-led solutions to African problems is also a very important thing, and something that we support.”

Olusegun Obasanjo 
Olusegun Obasanjo
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.

Show More
error: Alert: Share This Content !!

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker