In the midst of frosty relations between the United States and Russia, outgoing US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Minister of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both visited Addis Ababa in the begining of March. Both ministers met with Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Workeneh Gebeyehu, although there were no formal meetings between Lavrov and Tillerson. Relations between the United States and Russia have taken a notably frosty turn since the election of President Donald Trump last year and allegations of Russian meddling in the US election. Although the presidents of both countries denied any meddling, 13 Russians were indicted in mid-February for interfering in the US election.
During a speech on March 6, 2018 (before his arrival in Addis Ababa), Tillerson outlined the United States’ eagerness to lower trade and investment barriers in Africa, where the largest trading partner is China. In Ethiopia, while the US has investments of around USD567 million, Chinese investments are about USD15 billion, according to US state department.
During a speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tillerson spoke about the current situation in the country and the recently-declared state of emergency, saying that the reasons for the declaration were understandable.
On the other hand, Lavrov, who visited Ethiopia almost the same time as Tillerson focused on nuclear as part of efforts to strengthen political, economic and cultural ties between the two nations. “Right now, talks are ongoing on establishing a nuclear research centre based on already existing Russian-designed research reactors,” Lavrov said.
During a joint press conference at the Africa Union headquarters with Moussa Faki, chairperson of the African Union Commission, Lavrov supported Africa`s quest for permanent seat at United Nations Security Council (UNSC). “If Africa is represented at the council it will be able to introduce an additional value to UNSC,” he stressed.
Furthermore, Workeneh Gebeyhu, met with his United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The two signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at intensifying inclusive relations between the countries in trade and diplomatic aspects. They also agreed to speed up the signing of an overseas labor agreement that was being discussed for over two years.
6th Year . March 16 – April 15 2018 . No.59