A partnership through thick, thin

United States is one of the foremost countries to open its consular in Ethiopia. The two countries have a long history of diplomatic relations that dates back to the early days of both nations. They first established formal diplomatic ties in 1903, following the signing of a Treaty of Commerce by Emperor Menelik II and US Representative Robert P. Skinner.

Over the years, Ethiopia and the US have collaborated on various issues, including economic development, security cooperation, and humanitarian assistance. The US has been a key partner in helping Ethiopia address challenges such as poverty, food insecurity, and conflict.

In recent years, Ethiopia has emerged as an important strategic partner for the US in East Africa. The two countries have worked together on counterterrorism efforts, peacekeeping missions, and regional stability initiatives. Ethiopia’s role as a key player in the Horn of Africa has made it an important ally for the US in promoting peace and security in the region.

To commemorate over a century of relations between Addis Ababa and Washington, a photo exhibition was recently held at the National Museum in Addis Ababa. The exhibition promises to showcase a captivating array of photographs depicting the longstanding bilateral relationship between the two countries.

US Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ervin Massinga, stated on the occasion that the exhibition serves as a testament to the enduring ties between the two nations. He emphasized the significance of the selected photographs in celebrating the milestones and connections between the US and Ethiopia in various sectors such as health, education, agriculture, and economic development. Each image serves as a reminder of the strong, resilient, long-term bonds that unite the two countries.

Tourism State Minister Sileshi Girma, on his part, remarked that the photo exhibit showcases captivating images that capture key moments in the long and thriving relations between Ethiopia and the United States. The exhibit also marks a continuation of the 120th-anniversary celebration of the start of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Today, Ethiopia is one of the United States’ closest allies in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the state minister. The countries collaborate in various areas of cooperation, including economic development, security, healthcare, and education, among others. Additionally, Sileshi stated that the cultural and people-to-people ties between Ethiopia and the United States are also growing.

Despite these strong ties, Ethiopia-US relations have faced challenges over the years. Issues such as human rights abuses, political repression, and governance problems have strained the relationship at times. This strain was particularly evident during the northern Ethiopia conflict. However, Ethiopia has taken significant measures to address the conflict, including pursuing peace agreements, transitional justice, national dialogue, and on-going talks with the militants.

The US has imposed some suspensions on Ethiopia, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), despite the latter’s efforts for democracy and stability in the country. In this regard, it is important for the US to consider the long-standing relationship between the two countries and the improvements made on Ethiopia’s side, and reconsider the opportunities provided by AGOA.

Discussions between the two sides are on-going regarding Ethiopia’s potential reinstatement to the AGOA program. Recently, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Sileshi Bekele (PhD.Eng), engaged in talks with various members of the U.S. Congress on AGOA and contemporary issues related to Ethiopia.

Ambassador Sileshi, on his X page, mentioned that he discussed issues related to AGOA, possible partnerships, Ethiopia’s economic development, potential partnerships, humanitarian support, access to food, the implementation of peace agreements, and ethnically-related conflicts in some parts of Ethiopia with Rep. John Garamendi.

Similarly, he discussed the impact of AGOA exclusion on Ethiopia, including job losses and its effect on American investors and livelihoods, with Cherfilus-McCormick, another member of the U.S. Congress.

Moreover, the ambassador discussed on-going ethnic conflicts and the disorganization of certain groups, which are affecting the stability and development of Ethiopia, with members of the Congress. He also highlighted the impact of AGOA on low-income citizens and American investors.

In addition, the ambassador held discussions with Congress member Ami Bara concerning peace agreement implementation, including the approval of Transitional Justice Policy, humanitarian support for people in need and refugees, the significance of AGOA for U.S.-Ethiopia business relations, and Horn of Africa peace, among other topics.

It is worth noting that as of January 1, 2022, Ethiopia’s eligibility for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been suspended due to concerns over the country’s human rights record. The decision was made by the United States

Trade Representative (USTR) after a review of Ethiopia’s compliance with AGOA’s eligibility criteria. The suspension followed the conclusion of the two-year-long northern Ethiopian conflict by the Pretoria peace agreement.

In response to the suspension, Ethiopian officials have pledged to work towards improving human rights conditions in the country. They have also expressed hope that Ethiopia will be reinstated as an AGOA beneficiary in the future. However, despite roundtable discussions on the issues, there have been no significant changes. It is also known that disputes persist in different parts of the country. Nevertheless, the government has demonstrated its commitment by engaging in discussions with militants and implementing national dialogue, transitional justice, and other mechanisms to achieve national consensus and compensate the victims of the conflict.

As Ethiopia continues to navigate its path towards democracy and development, its relationship with the United States will remain crucial. Both countries share a commitment to promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in East Africa and beyond.

Ethiopia has long been a key ally for the United States in the fight against terrorism, particularly in the volatile region of the Horn of Africa. The two countries have worked together to combat threats from groups like Al-Shabab.

According to the US Department of State, terrorist organizations continue to pose a significant threat to both countries and their allies. Through diplomatic engagement and foreign assistance, the Department of State is working with countries and other partners to build capabilities that will help prevent, detect, and respond to terrorist threats.

As these threats evolve, it is crucial for Ethiopia and the US to maintain their partnership in order to prevent attacks and ensure regional stability.

The region remains a hub for terrorism, human trafficking, piracy, and other security challenges. It is imperative that Ethiopia and the US continue their efforts to combat these threats in order to maintain peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.



Recommended For You