Source: US State Department

Briefing on 6 January 2022 by Ned Price, Spokesman

When it comes to Ethiopia, I can confirm that Special Envoy Feltman met this morning with Prime Minister Abiy. They held constructive, substantive discussions. Those discussions covered the importance of the bilateral relationship as well as broader regional issues. The special envoy is still on the ground, and the meeting between him and the prime minister concluded all – not all that long ago. And so we will have more details once Ambassador Feltman is – has returned to the United States. We certainly hope, I will say in the interim, that any positive momentum from his discussions can be quickly realized. And we’ll be working with our – with the Government of Ethiopia to see to it that the prospects for realizing that positive momentum are achieved.

You didn’t ask this specifically, but you will have also seen, Shaun, that the Secretary issued a statement today about the transition we anticipate in the coming days in this role. And Ambassador Feltman had the opportunity to formally let the prime minister know of his intention to step down and for Ambassador Satterfield to take on the role of the special envoy for the Horn of Africa in the coming days.

Broadly, we continue to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and end human rights atrocities, unhindered humanitarian access, and a negotiated resolution to the conflict. All of those topics were raised and were discussed during the special envoy’s discussions with the prime minister earlier today….

QUESTION: Hi, Ned. Thanks for doing this. China said today that it would appoint a special envoy to foster peace in the Horn of Africa and wanted to shift focus on the continent to trade over infrastructure. Does the State Department have a reaction to this? And is the U.S. concerned that its sanctions against Eritrea and cutting Ethiopia off from AGOA is further pushing Horn of Africa countries toward China?

MR PRICE: Thanks, Daphne. So we’re aware of the reports you reference, namely that the PRC will appoint a special envoy for the Horn of Africa. We are committed to promoting peace, security, prosperity in the Horn and we’ll work with all partners who share our objectives in that.

You heard this when the Secretary was on the continent several weeks ago, but our engagement in Africa is based on sustained and transparent collaboration with partners across the continent and the broader international community. And let me just hone in on that word, “partners.” The relationships that we seek to have with countries across Africa are relationships fundamentally predicated on the concept of partnership. We don’t ask our partners to choose between the United States and any other country. That includes the PRC. What we seek is not to make them choose, but to give them choices.

And you heard from the Secretary when we were in Kenya and Nigeria and Senegal about the choice and the – in the type of partnership that the United States offers to the countries of Africa. These are partnerships that are based on mutual opportunity, mutual respect, the types of investments that the United States seeks to make. Whether it is private sector investment, whether it is through the Build Back Better World program, whether it is through other U.S. Government programs and through partner programs, our – is – it furthers our goal of partnerships that are mutually beneficial and that are empowering for the countries of Africa with whom we are – with whom we have these constructive relationships.