U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Saturday met with the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who is also the current chairperson of the African Union, Felix Tshisekedi, on the margins of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, and both leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including the devastating crises in northern Ethiopia and Sudan, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
The White House noted that President Biden recognized President Tshisekedi’s efforts as the AU Chair to promote peace and security in Africa, “including the need to resolve the widening crisis in Ethiopia and restore the civilian-led transitional government in Sudan.”
“The Leaders discussed the shared commitment of the U.S. and the AU to advance global health security and end the COVID-19 pandemic everywhere. They also discussed the recent U.S.-facilitated deal between Moderna and the AU to make up to 110 million vaccine doses available to the AU on an accelerated basis. This is in addition to the 63 million doses of vaccine the U.S. has already shipped to the AU, with more US donated doses delivered each week,” the White House added.
It said the African and American leaders also discussed “the imperative of protecting the Congo Basin rainforest, which is the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, to meet the global goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
President Biden also welcomed President Tshisekedi’s efforts to promote transparency, tackle corruption, and respect human rights in how the DRC manages its vast natural resources.
President Biden also met on Saturday with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany.
“He congratulated Chancellor Merkel on over 16 years of leadership on issues of importance to our shared security and prosperity and to the Transatlantic relationship,” the White House said. “The leaders discussed the situation in Afghanistan, including efforts to ensure continued humanitarian assistance. President Biden thanked Germany for hosting 35,000 Afghans as they relocated to the United States. In addition, President Biden underscored the importance of continued work to implement the U.S.-Germany Joint Statement on Support for Ukraine and European Energy Security, to ensure that Russia cannot manipulate natural gas flows for harmful political purposes.”
The Biden administration has been vocal against the devastating war in Tigray, and on Saturday, the United States government called on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to “withdraw from the Amhara and Afar regions, including halting its advances in and around the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha,” reiterating that it remains “gravely concerned by the expansion of combat in northern Ethiopia.”
“We urge the TPLF not to use artillery against cities and recall our strong objections to the ENDF airstrikes in Mekelle and other areas of Tigray which have cost countless lives. There is no military solution to this conflict, and all parties must begin ceasefire negotiations without preconditions,” the United States State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
It added, “The United States remains committed to saving lives and alleviating suffering through the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all Ethiopians in need – whether in the Tigray, Amhara, or Afar region. We continue to be alarmed by reports of the deliberate denial of humanitarian assistance in northern Ethiopia.
“Up to 900,000 people are living in famine-like conditions in Tigray while the government restricts urgently needed humanitarian supplies, including medicine, fuel, and cash for relief organizations. We repeat our call on all parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate unhindered humanitarian access.
“We reiterate our call for all parties to protect civilians and end human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. Those responsible for such abuses and violations must be held accountable.”