Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Rice to visit Ethiopia in rare Africa trip

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Ethiopia next week for meetings on the conflicts in the volatile African Great Lakes region and Sudan and Somalia, said the State Department on Thursday.

Rice, a rare visitor to the African continent, will make her third trip to sub-Saharan Africa since becoming Secretary of State in 2005. She has previously been to Liberia, Senegal and Sudan but cancelled a trip to Africa last July.

State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said Rice would be in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, on December 5 to attend a meeting of leaders from the African Great Lakes region — Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

”[They] will discuss issues of regional peace and security,” he said.

After her brief Africa trip, Rice will travel to Brussels on December 6 for a meeting of Nato foreign ministers to discuss Afghanistan, Kosovo and other issues, McCormack said, before she returns to Washington on December 7.

McCormack had no details on whether Rice planned to offer any new proposals on how to curb violence in lawless eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a conflict that has brought in the vast Central African country’s neighbours.

The conflict in the eastern province reflects the political and ethnic tensions behind the DRC’s 1998 to 2003 war in which six neighbouring countries, including Rwanda, invaded the country to plunder its vast mineral wealth.

President Joseph Kabila met US President George Bush in Washington last month and appealed for US help in trying to stabilise his country. Kabila has been battling to forcibly disarm soldiers in North Kivu province in the east, loyal to renegade Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda.

The United States plans to help train a Congolese army rapid reaction force to tackle the rebels, and the State Department has been negotiating the terms of a training contract.

During her two-day visit, Rice will also discuss Somalia and Sudan with African Union members, the United Nations and East African ministers, said McCormack.

In addition, the top US diplomat will meet officials from Ethiopia, which cooperates closely with the United States on counterterrorism issues.

Tensions have been rising in recent months between Ethiopia and its neighbour Eritrea over its disputed border, with Eritrea accusing the United States of siding with Addis Ababa. – Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

The ANC, DA and EFF ‘oblivious’ to climate crisis —...

The Climate Justice Charter Movement has critiqued the manifestos of the main parties contesting the local government elections and found them ‘shallow’

More top stories

Countries bear cross-border responsibility for harmful effects of climate change,...

The UN committee has been accused of ‘turning its back’ on the children who filed a groundbreaking legal complaint with it against five countries

Magashule files notice to have corruption charges dropped

Counsel for the suspended ANC secretary general tells court the former Free State premier falls outside category of who can be charged for corrupt activities

R1.5-billion in funding approved for riot-hit businesses

Agencies emphasise that speed is crucial to rescuing firms affected by July’s unrest

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…