April 23, 2018

Tillerson Visits Africa, Where Women's Reproductive Rights Are Key to Future

10 March 2018, 01:09 | Marta Robbins

President Trump's remarks about African nations could leave a dark cloud over the trip. Credit Gage Skidmore Shutterstock

President Trump's remarks about African nations could leave a dark cloud over the trip. Credit Gage Skidmore  Shutterstock

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson participates in a joint press availability with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 8, 2018.

The secretary of state said Africa should "weigh Chinese loans carefully", but the USA will not prevent these investments from taking place. African countries should "not forfeit any elements of your sovereignty as you enter into such arrangements with China", he warned.

Faki assured reporters that the incident was over and his brief discussion with Tillerson on Thursday morning had focused on areas of cooperation, such as the possibility of the USA providing financial support for an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

"About a third of these debts or loans are collateralized with natural resources".

He however claimed that the United States is not trying to stop African countries from receiving money from China.

"This August, we will remember the hundreds of lives lost 20 years ago in the USA embassy attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam - where hundreds of lives ended", Tillerson said.

"We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese "dollars" from Africa".

President Trump, in his speech at the United Nations past year, indicated that his administration sees Africa as a viable economic partner, and the continent continues to see enormous growth: About half of the world's ten fastest-growing economies will be on the continent.

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"The goal of my trip to this continent is that we listen", Tillerson said.

Speaking after a meeting with African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki in Addis Ababa, Tillerson criticized China's model of economic development in Africa, saying it encouraged dependency and denied governments' long-term democratic growth.

Lavrov will visit Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, on Friday, and will stay in the same hotel as Tillerson, so Russian Federation considered possible that the two diplomats might meet there, local media reported.

Tillerson reiterated USA desire for more African nations to apply concrete diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea, noting the global maximum pressure campaign, which has been supported by multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

"It is important that the country moves on past the state of emergency as quickly as possible", he said.

This visit might also be an opportunity for Trump's White House to reassert itself as the most logical go-to partner for African states.

Tillerson is due to fly to Djibouti, host to military bases owned by the U.S., China, Japan, France, and Italy.

"I believe that this incident is of the past", Faki said.

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