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Secretary Pompeo And Ethiopian Foreign Minister Andargachew At a Press Availability
February 21, 2020

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo And Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew At a Press Availability

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Sheraton Hotel


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Ethiopia is America’s long and warm relationship with the country.  It’s our second-oldest diplomatic relationship in Africa. In the 1930s and ’40s, the United States staunchly backed Ethiopian sovereignty when it was under threat.  We were one of the few countries to do so then. Today, Washington, D.C. is home to the largest Ethiopian diaspora community outside of Africa, and we love them.

Our relationship provides a strong foundation for our cooperation on matters of security.  The Horn of Africa is a pretty dangerous neighborhood. We recommitted this afternoon to our shared fight against al-Shabaab and other Islamist terror.

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Investments in security provide the stability that allow Ethiopian citizens and citizens of other nations to flourish.  At the same time, Prime Minister Abiy’s reforms are driving growth and encouraging American business to expand right here in Ethiopia.  Ethiopia’s business-friendly climate has made it a welcome place for American companies like Coca-Cola and PVH, the makers of iconic brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger – they’re all expanding here.  Today, more American businesses are looking to get in, and investors are interested in everything.

America’s value as a partner goes beyond the quality of what we make.  Partnership defines our very engagement. We invest in people and prioritize global health and economic empowerment.  Our investments uphold transparency and sovereignty. Our companies, too, employ local people, Ethiopians. Our track record of being a force for good when we invest economically is unchallenged.

Today, too, I am pleased to announce the United States is providing $8 million in additional funding to support regional locust control operations in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

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You then asked a question, a couple parts, about coronavirus.  Look, we’re always trying to make sure we get decisions right. With respect to these cruise ships, there are complicated decision-making processes.  So I don’t know that we’re going to look to change our guidelines necessarily, but we will evaluate these closely. I’ve been tracking this and monitoring it even during my travels to make sure that we try to get it right every time, to not only protect the American people but to do all that we can as a country to help everyone in the world.

I was with our CDC folks in our embassy today.  The work that we’re doing right here in Africa is important.  I heard just as I came in that there are now more reported cases here in Africa.  We need to make sure that we’ve got that right and we’re doing everything we can to make sure that every place there’s risk – in countries where there isn’t a deep, strong healthcare or public health infrastructure – the United States is providing important assistance.  We’ve got plans to put in place at least $100 million worth of support to countries all around the world, including to China. We’re proud of that.

We hope that the world will unite against what is this really challenging public health problem that faces us.  We hope that every country that has information – this includes China – will be completely open and transparent.  It took us too long to get the medical experts into country. We wish that could have happened more quickly.  But we are hopeful that the Chinese Government will increase its transparency, will continue to share this information.  This is now a problem that is of global scale, and it’s important that every nation state act in a way that is consistent with reducing risk to citizens all across the world.

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