Addis Abeba – Ambassador Mike Hammer, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa (SEHOA), is due to arrive in Ethiopia for his second visit since his assumed the position on 01 June. The Ambassadors’ tour between July 24- 01 August will include Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Ethiopia, according to the State Department.
He was in Ethiopia in the week of 11 June, when he met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demeke Mekonnen. The two have discussed on wide range issues, including humanitarian supply to war-torn Tigray, Afar and Amhara regional state, and measures taken to ensure accountability for abuses committed during the was, as well as the AU-led peace initiatives. The two also discussed updates on the trilateral negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Similarly, Ambassador Mike’s second visit will focus on the same topics. “While in Ethiopia, Special Envoy Hammer will have an opportunity to review progress on delivery of humanitarian assistance, and accountability for human rights violations and abuses as well as efforts to advance peace talks between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan authorities.”
Recently, the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) and the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), the party administering the Tigray regional state, each announced forming a negotiation committee team in an effort to bring the 20-months old civil war to a peaceful end. But there has been no progress report including on planned face-to-face meetings as of yet.
Furthermore, the ruling PP has said the talks will be “in a manner that respects the constitution and national interest” of the country and “facilitated by the African Union.” But Getachew Reda, TPLF Spokesperson of “It would be very irresponsible for us to submit all negotiating processes to the AU,” adding the talks should involve Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta.
The State department said the U.S. “remains committed to advancing diplomatic efforts in support of an inclusive political process towards lasting peace, security, and prosperity for all people in Ethiopia,” but did not indicate if Ambassador Mike’s meeting with the AU includes discussion on the progress of the AU-led peace talks initiative.
With regard to the GERD, the statement said the envoy “will provide U.S. support toward forging a diplomatic resolution to issues related to” the GERD that would achieve the “interests of all parties and contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous region.” To that end, he will consult with the “African Union, under whose auspices GERD talks occur.”
In mid July, President Biden met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and “reiterated U.S. support for Egypt’s water security and to forging a diplomatic resolution that would achieve the interests of all parties and contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous region.” AS