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On Ukraine visit, Blinken, Austin pledge return of U.S. diplomats, more security aid

On Ukraine visit, Blinken, Austin pledge return of U.S. diplomats, more security aid

SIMON LEWIS WASHINGTON'S top diplomat and its defense chief used the first official U.S. visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February to announce a gradual return of U.S. diplomats including a new ambassador and over $300 million in new military aid to Kyiv. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Poland on Saturday in a previously undisclosed trip, and took a train the following day into Ukraine where they met President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top Ukrainian officials. "In terms of Russia’s war aims, Russia has already failed and Ukraine has already succeeded,"…
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Blinken travels to Middle East, North Africa

Blinken travels to Middle East, North Africa

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the Middle East and North Africa starting in a trip that will be heavily dominated by discussion of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Blinken is set to visit Israel, the West Bank, Morocco, and Algeria from Saturday to Wednesday, the State Department announced on Thursday, in a trip that will focus on Iran and the conflict in Ukraine. "Both of those are going to be really at the top of the agenda," top U.S. diplomat for Near Eastern affairs Yael Lempert told reporters. Russian forces invaded Ukraine a month ago in the…
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U.S. to withhold Egypt’s $130-million over rights

U.S. to withhold Egypt’s $130-million over rights

HUMEYRA PAMUK THE Biden administration will withhold $130 million worth of military aid to Egypt in order to pressure the Arab ally to improve its human rights record, two sources familiar with the matter, including a U.S. official, said. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned move is a break with his predecessors' policy of overriding a congressional check on military aid to Egypt. In the past, an exception was granted to free up $300 million in Foreign Military Financing for Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's government on that argument that it was in the interest of U.S. national security. But a portion…
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Sudan recalls envoy to Ethiopia

Sudan recalls envoy to Ethiopia

KHALID ABDELAZIZ SUDAN recalled its ambassador to neighbouring Ethiopia on Sunday, frustrated by the stance of Ethiopian officials whom it said were refusing Sudan's offer to mediate in the ongoing conflict in Tigray. Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok attends a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron and Sudan's Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (not seen) during the International Conference in support of Sudan at the Temporary Grand Palais in Paris, France, May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool "Ethiopia will improve its position if it considered what Sudan could do. ..instead of completely rejecting all of its efforts,"…
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US, Sudan discuss peace process

US, Sudan discuss peace process

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke yesterday with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on efforts to advance the peace process and promote political reforms, the State Department said in a statement. The two also discussed negotiations related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the need to lower tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia, according to the statement.
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U.S. calls on AU to exert pressure Tigray

U.S. calls on AU to exert pressure Tigray

PHIL STEWART  U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on the African Union and other international partners to help address a deepening crisis in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region as he condemned alleged atrocities in fighting there. Blinken's statement suggested growing frustration with the response so far from Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea to what America's top diplomat described as a "worsening humanitarian crisis." His remarks came a day after Amnesty International released a report accusing Eritrean forces of killing hundreds of civilians in Tigray in a 24-hour period last year, an incident it described as a potential crime against humanity.…
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‘Men forced to rape family members’

‘Men forced to rape family members’

MICHELLE NICHOLS  MORE than 500 rape cases have been reported to five clinics in Ethiopia's Tigray region, the United Nations said yesterday, warning that due to stigma and a lack of health services the actual numbers were likely to be much higher. "Women say they have been raped by armed actors, they also told stories of gang rape, rape in front of family members and men being forced to rape their own family members under the threat of violence," Wafaa Said, deputy U.N. aid coordinator in Ethiopia, said in a briefing to U.N. member states in New York. She said…
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U.S. for unity, elections in Somalia

U.S. for unity, elections in Somalia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday urged Somalia's leaders to set aside political objectives and hold transparent elections. "We call on Somalia's federal and member state leaders to set aside narrow political objectives, uphold their responsibilities to the people of Somalia, and agree to immediately hold transparent and inclusive elections," Blinken said in a statement.
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U.S. will not resume assistance to Ethiopia for most security programs

U.S. will not resume assistance to Ethiopia for most security programs

DAPHNE PSALEDAKIS THE State Department on Friday said Washington has decided not to lift the pause in assistance to Ethiopia for most programs in the security sector, days after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described acts in Tigray as ethnic cleansing. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that while the United States has decided to resume certain types of assistance, including that related to global health and food security, assistance for other programs and most programs in the security sector would remain paused. "Given the current environment in Ethiopia, we have decided not to lift the assistance pause for…
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