Pompeo arrives in Ethiopia for talks with PM Abiy, President Zewde

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is received as he arrives at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2nd-R) and his wife Susan Pompeo (R) are welcomed by Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew (L) after they arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia February 17, 2020. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday night as he began the third leg of his Africa tour.

Pompeo is scheduled to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde to discuss joint efforts to promote regional security, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Ethiopia is a key contributor of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which is battling Al-Shabaab, an Islamist insurgent group that has been fighting for more than a decade to topple Somalia’s central government.

Pompeo is also in the country to lend U.S. support to Ethiopia’s historic political and economic reform agenda.

Ethiopia, a vital security ally of the U.S. in the Horn of Africa region, has experienced substantial political reforms since Prime Minister Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2019, came into office in 2018.

Despite the reforms, Ethiopia has also experienced bouts of unrest with the government foiling an attempted coup in June last year. Ethiopia is set to hold parliamentary elections in August in what is seen as a voter test of Ahmed’s administration.

Additionally, Pompeo will meet with the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and address a press conference. Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the African Union.

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