News / Africa

Kerry in Ethiopia for Security Talks

Kerry to Meet with AU Officials in Ethiopiai
X
May 24, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Ethiopia Friday for meetings with African Union officials that are expected to discuss violence in Sudan and efforts to battle Islamic fundamentalists in northern Mali and in northern Nigeria. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

Kerry to Meet with AU Officials in Ethiopia

TEXT SIZE - +
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Ethiopia for security talks with regional officials and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the African Union.

Kerry's visit is expected to include talks on African and Western efforts to fight Islamist extremists in Mali and northern Nigeria.

During recent talks with Nigeria's foreign minister, Kerry reaffirmed U.S. support for Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram militants in the north, where a state of emergency has been declared.

In Mali, French troops are winding up an offensive against Islamist fighters who had seized control of the north.  Analysts say the U.S. is looking to help provide counterinsurgency training to regional forces who are taking over.

Kerry will join African leaders and other foreign dignitaries Saturday at an AU summit that will celebrate 50 years of the pan-African organization, originally called the Organization of African Unity.

Soldiers from the European Union are helping train Malian troops to fight insurgents linked to al-Qaida terrorists. The deployment of a regional intervention force to replace French and Chadian troops in Mali is a central security issue for the African Union.

It is also an opportunity for the United States to help provide counter-insurgency training, explained Jennifer Cooke, the Africa director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"The Islamists are thinking; 'Time is on our side on this. We will wait out the French. And then we'll have this very weak West African force to confront.' So that's a big dilemma," she noted.

The African Union

-First known as the Organization of African Unity (OAU)
-Established May 25, 1963 in Ethiopia by 32 governments
-22 nations have joined since, most recently South Sudan in 2011
-Aimed at achieving greater unity between African nations, promoting peace and stability on the continent
Cooke said it is more than just a military challenge, because the African Union and Western allies need to help create civilian authorities to which Malian troops are accountable.

"Will the international community have the stomach now that the immediate threat is gone to stay with it, to stay supporting those forces, to stay on track with the pressure on a political solution and the governing structure eventually for the north?" Cooke asked.

African Union members also are facing continuing violence along the still-undecided border between Sudan and South Sudan where human rights groups say the outlawed Lord's Resistance Army is taking advantage of that instability.

At a time when Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is working to improve his image abroad, Human Rights Watch Deputy Washington Director Sarah Margon said it is an opportune moment for Sudan to distance itself from the LRA.

"It would really be in their interest, as they continue to try to re-emerge and regain their position in the international community, for them to tell to the LRA: 'This is not a place where you can continue to come. We will not allow it and we won't have it any more,'" Margon said.

African Union officials also are expected to discuss Nigeria's state of emergency against Boko Haram militants in the north.

Secretary Kerry reaffirmed Washington's support for Nigeria's fight against extremism and its leadership role on the continent in recent talks with Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru.

"We have a close working partnership, and Nigeria is a very important leader within the African Union as well as the Economic Community of West African States," Kerry said."Unfortunately, they are facing some tough violence in the northern part of the country, which we condemn."

While U.S. officials say they are concerned about the destabilizing threat that militants pose for Nigeria, they also are calling on Nigerian security forces to protect civilians in ways that respect human rights, following reports of a "heavy-handed response to insecurity" in some northern communities.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Alem
May 24, 2013 10:38 AM
Is Secretary Kerry in Ethiopia to just talk about security and not also about human rights? I am hoping the Secretary has a better understanding of democratic values than Ambassador Susan Rice who for some odd reason publicly stated that she valued a "personal friendship with family man and world class mind" with the late-dictator Meles Zenawi. On 25 May Ethiopian opposition has planned to exercise its constitutional rights to demonstrate peacefully against an oppressive regime.

Would the Secretary stand with or against democratic forces in the country? Ethiopian rulers true to form will certainly start a commotion by enlisting paid thugs to intervene to break-up the demonstration and severely punish [jail, torture, etc] leaders of the peaceful demonstration. Will VOA be on hand to film and broadcast the event ; there is not going to be local independent press and the government will spin the story as an act to control Al Shabab.

In Response

by: jebefite from: USA
May 24, 2013 11:17 AM
Yes! We Ethiopian are suffering lack of democracy , but we do not wait help from westerns.. histrory will repeat itself .. we know you are the one who assigned this pupet gov't : with atificial crippled foots which can not move by itself ...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid