Jeffrey Feltman returns to Ethiopia after meetings in Kenya, as many rally against him in Washington

From November 7 to 8, Special Envoy Feltman traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, where he consulted with President Kenyatta and other political leaders on the conflict in Ethiopia. 

U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman returned to Ethiopia on Monday after meetings in Kenya to push for a peaceful resolution to the Ethiopian crisis, the U.S. government said. But in Washington, demonstrators carried placards and banners that read, “Ethiopia does not take order from Feltman.”

Ethiopians rally at the White House in Washington DC, on November 8, 2021, in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in the ongoing conflict in Tigray. Photo: TODAY NEWS AFRICA/Simon Ateba 
Ethiopians rally at the White House in Washington DC, on November 8, 2021, in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in the ongoing conflict in Tigray. Photo: TODAY NEWS AFRICA/Simon Ateba

“Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman is currently in Ethiopia to underscore the United States’ grave concern with the escalation of the conflict and the risk of intercommunal violence, and to encourage all parties to engage in a dialogue on a cessation of hostilities,” the State Department said in a statement in Washington.

From November 4 to 7, Special Envoy Feltman traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hasan, Minister of Defense Abraham Belay, and Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide.  He also met with AU High Representative Olusegun Obasanjo, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, UN Undersecretary General Martin Griffiths, and other international partners and government leaders. 

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Ethiopians rally at the White House in Washington DC, on November 8, 2021, in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in the ongoing conflict in Tigray. Photo: TODAY NEWS AFRICA/Simon Ateba

From November 7 to 8, Special Envoy Feltman traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, where he consulted with President Kenyatta and other political leaders on the conflict in Ethiopia. 

“The United States will continue to work with international partners to address the crisis in Ethiopia, including through action with the United Nations, the African Union, and other relevant partners and institutions. Special Envoy Feltman remains in the region and returned to Ethiopia today, November 8,” the Department added.

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians rallied on Sunday in Addis Ababa and on Monday in Washington in support of their Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and against what they described as the U.S. support for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield rejected that criticism, asserting that there are no good guys in the Ethiopian conflict, only victims on all sides.

Thomas-Greenfield insisted that there is no military solution to the Ethiopian conflict and once again called on all actors to lay down their weapons and talk.

However, talking may be the most difficult thing now as the TPLF fighters advance toward Addis Ababa and Ethiopians rally behind Abiy, a military confrontation may seem very well possible.

Feltman returned to Ethiopia the same day thousands of Ethiopians rallied against the United States in Washington and against him personally.

One demonstrator’s banner read, “Ethiopia does not take order from Feltman.”

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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