June 20, 2024

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Highlights Urgent Need for Additional Aid in the Horn of Africa During Interview with VOA’s Straight Talk Africa

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, reads a statement ahead on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ahead of Security Council consultations on Non-proliferation/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. With her are the Permanent Representatives of Albania, Brazil, France, Ireland, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced a recent allocation of approximately $524 million in drought aid for the Horn of Africa, bringing the total US aid to the region for 2023 to around $1.4 billion. In an interview with Hayde Adams of VOA’s Straight Talk Africa, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield acknowledged that while the contribution was significant, it falls short of the United Nations’ request of $7 billion to address the pressing issues of hunger and famine in the region. She emphasized the need for additional resources to prevent starvation and expressed confidence that more could be done.

But journalist Simon Ateba recently pointed out in a tweet that American officials frequently announce significant amounts of humanitarian assistance to African nations, yet they often avoid interviews to provide accountability for the spending. Ateba, who was born in Africa, shared his personal experience of never receiving any assistance from USAID and not knowing anyone personally who has. He argued that the majority of the funds are allocated to NGOs and fail to reach the people in need.

During the interview, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also discussed the relationship between South Africa and the United States. She highlighted the historical ties between the two countries and emphasized their commitment to finding common ground on trade and development assistance. When asked about South Africa’s stance on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the ambassador expressed her view that there can be no neutrality when a smaller nation is attacked by a member of the P5, describing Russia’s actions as a violation of the UN Charter.

Regarding the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the BRICS conference in South Africa, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield redirected the question to South Africa, highlighting its obligations under international agreements, including the International Criminal Court, to turn over individuals convicted of crimes. She expressed the hope that South Africa would uphold these obligations.

While the ambassador did not delve into private conversations with the South African government, she made it clear that there are expectations for South Africa to honor its obligations.

Shifting the focus to U.S.-Africa relations at the United Nations, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield emphasized the ongoing efforts to strengthen the partnership. She highlighted her personal commitment to the continent, given her extensive experience there, and reiterated the United States’ status as the largest donor to humanitarian and development programs in Africa. She expressed the desire to nurture these relationships both in New York and on the African continent.

On the issue of UN Security Council reform, the ambassador acknowledged the importance of including more permanent members, including from Africa. She discussed ongoing discussions and engagements with African countries and other regions to implement and realize this commitment to UN reform.

Regarding the conflict in Sudan, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield reaffirmed the United States’ active engagement in seeking a solution. She mentioned the US government’s collaboration with the Saudi government and the progress made in securing a ceasefire for humanitarian assistance through meetings in Jeddah.

The ambassador expressed support for the African Union and IGAD efforts and pledged to continue exerting pressure on both sides to work towards a ceasefire and the establishment of a civilian-led government, which enjoys support from the African continent and the United Nations.

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