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US secretary of state meets Ethiopian officials to repair ties

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday met with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen and other officials in the capital Addis Ababa, as both countries look to repair ties following war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.

“Probably the most important thing is to deepen the peace that has taken hold in the north,” Blinken told journalists after the meeting.

Speaking to the media, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Meles Alem said the two sides commented on the positive development of the cessation of hostilities and the African Union-led Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation process, and the work of the Ethiopian Rehabilitation Commission.

Alem added that the two parties discussed the formation of the interim regional administration in the Tigray region and the ongoing nationwide consultations on the Transitional Justice policy that will bring about “accountability and redress for victims.”

Blinken’s visit came amid a cease-fire in the Tigray region, where a devastating conflict over the past two years killed tens of thousands of people.

Experts from the Horn of Africa believe that Blinken’s visit to Ethiopia is part of a broader effort by the US to strengthen its relationships with African countries.

As the second most populous country on the continent, Ethiopia is a key player in regional politics and a longstanding US ally.

Blinken arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday on a working visit and will meet other high-level officials from the government of Ethiopia, the African Union and representatives of the Tigrayan leadership.

On Thursday, Blinken will visit the West African nation of Niger.

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