News / Africa

Kerry in Ethiopia for Security Talks

Kerry to Meet with AU Officials in Ethiopiai
May 24, 2013 10:49 AM
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
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

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs