Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali arrived in Washington D.C. on Sunday evening to participate in the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit President Joseph R. Biden. Jr. is hosting December 13-15.
Abiy arrived at the Joint Base Andrews Airport a few minutes before 6 p.m. local time along with his wife Zinash Tayachew.
The invitation to Ethiopia was extended to the country’s President and head of state, Sahle-Work Zewde. She then passed it to the Prime Minister who is the head of government.
For weeks, it was not clear whether Abiy would make the trip to Washington following his country’s bloody war that has left thousands of dead, especially in Tigray.
President Biden invited 49 heads of state and the chairperson of the African Union Commission to attend the summit that aims to strengthen ties between the United States and Africa.
“I can just say that we have 50 confirmed delegations and majority of those are heads of state,” an official told reporters late last week. Each country is free to send anyone to represent it.
Tigrayans who blame Abiy for the two-year war and the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Tigray and elsewhere are expected to greet Abiy with protests in Washington, although many other Ethiopians have put the blame squarely on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Today News Africa, which is credentialed to cover the summit, has been tracking African leaders arriving in Washington and will be bringing you more details in the coming hours and days.