The United States government is looking at “comprehensive approaches” to extend humanitarian assistance as well as help resolve tensions that caused over 660,000 internally displaced people in the eastern part of Ethiopia, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto announced yesterday.
Yamamoto, the former US ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, visited Addis Ababa as part of a four-nation trip to east and central Africa.
In his meeting with members of the media at the US Embassy, Yamamoto said that the US foreign secretary under Trump administration is committed to keep boosting relations with sub-Saharan countries including Ethiopia that he called a “core partner”.
Among a host of issues he discussed on the occasion, he indicated that the US has been working globally with its allies to cooperate and address the issue of refugees. As part of its global commitments, the US government is now looking at the internal displacements that recently occurred in Ethiopia following clashes that erupted in September along the border areas of Oromia and the Ethiopian Somali Region.
“We have been looking at the 660,000 IDPs in the eastern part [of Ethiopia]. We are now looking at how the US extends its assistance along with the international community and at the same time how it was caused,” he told the press conference.
Noting that his government also reviews how the IDP situation is caused, he added, “We have to look into a comprehensive approach so that we are continuing our support for easing tension, resolve the problem and improve the status of the people like we mostly do globally.”
In addition, Yamamoto, a career diplomat with extensive experience in the Horn, highlighted priority areas of mutual interests that Foreign Secretary Rex Tillerson pledged to focus on.
He explained that his visit is a follow-up on the meeting Secretary Tillerson hosted of 37 sub-Saharan countries in Washington “which basically aimed at working with all 54 countries of Africa”.
He added that his visit includes, “on looking at what Africa would look like in 2050. Africa will be the most populous continent with 2.7 billion people, of which 70 percent will be under 30 and unemployment rate will be high.”
Regarding the cooperation and partnership with Ethiopia, he also indicated that, “it [Ethiopia] is one of the corner-stone counties and also at the forefront in development and also look in how to address the challenges of that it is going to face.”
On the question raised by journalists on how he compares the current political landscape in Ethiopia with the time he had been in the country during his tenure as ambassador, he was cautious in his response, saying that critical engagement was in order, including in peace, security and economic development.
Earlier in the day, he met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and discussed how “we can work together mainly on three major cooperation areas, like economic cooperation, human rights, defense and security issues”.
After his visit in the continent, Yamamoto said he is heading to London to meet with his British and French colleagues to do a coordinated policy approach.