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From January 13 to January 16, members of the United States Government’s core post-2015 team, under the leadership of John Podesta, Counselor to the President, and Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council, visited Addis Abeba to engage with Ethiopian and African Union (AU) officials, the US embassy said in a statement.

The embassy further said the goals of the trip were two-fold: “to allow for deeper engagement with the AU on shared post-2015 priorities within the Common Africa Position, building platforms for partnership helpful to both negotiations and to implementation, and to specifically discuss the Financing for Development (FFD) conference to be held in Addis Abeba in July 2015 to ensure a strong roadmap in the lead-up.”

US Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach on her part said, “These conversations drew attention to our myriad shared priorities and partnership opportunities, and laid the groundwork for our commitment to further explore areas of alignment.”

After the bilateral meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the embassy statement quoted Podesta as saying: “Ethiopia, with its development program and its approach to inclusive growth has been a leader in the area of poverty eradication, so they are appropriately going to be hosting the FFD conference and we want to offer the USG’s support and partnership in making it a success.”

“The trip builds on an ongoing post-2015 dialogue between the U.S. and key African countries, initially begun at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014 and continued at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014 and in regular informal exchanges.” The trip to Addis Abeba included opportunities for more substantive engagement with the African Union, Ethiopia, and planning for visits to other countries involved.

During the visit the two senior officials met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy; at the African Union, they met with Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and the Commissioners for Economic Affairs and Rural Economy and Agriculture as well as senior UNECA officials, among other officials, the statement said.

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