June 17, 2024

High-level U.S. government delegation travels to Ethiopia for African Union summit as Blinken thanks South Africa for peace efforts in Ukraine

United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor on February 13, and “expressed appreciation for Minister Pandor’s desire to encourage dialogue and peacefully resolve conflict in Europe.”

“Secretary Blinken also discussed with Minister Pandor the approaching one-year marker of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the importance of upholding the UN Charter,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a readout.

South Africa has been cited many times as a possible mediator between Russia and Ukraine since the Russian invasion began a year ago. The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized the United States and NATO last year, asserting that they provoked Russia into invading Ukraine.

Late last year, Ramaphosa became the second African President hosted by President Biden at the White House, and both leaders are believed to have discussed peace in Ukraine, although the readout from their meeting lacked many details.

In a statement on Tuesday, the State Department said that during their phone call, Blinken and Pandor also emphasized shared priorities, including implementation of commitments made during the December 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

The Special Presidential Representative for U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Implementation Ambassador Johnnie Carson is also headed to Africa along with U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for Africa Mary Catherine Phee and U.S. Department of State Special Envoy for Global Food Security Dr. Cary Fowler.

The high-level delegation’s trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 14-19 for meetings with government officials on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) Summit, will also include USAID Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Africa Monde Muyangwa, acting USAID Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau of Resilience and Food Security Dina Esposito, and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy John Nkengasong.

The U.S. delegation is scheduled to meet with stakeholders to discuss the global food security crisis, and its disproportionate impact on Africa, as well as to follow up on U.S. commitments made at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

“The U.S. delegation will reinforce U.S. commitment to advance food security and highlight the ongoing work through the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative, and efforts to scale up work on climate-resilient agriculture and soil health, including upcoming work on the “Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils” (VACS),” the U.S. government said.

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