WASHINGTON — According to the White House, President Joe Biden will hold his first in-person, one-on-one talks with an African leader Thursday. He will host President Uhuru Kenyatta from Kenya as war and humanitarian crises roil neighboring Ethiopia.
Biden had signed an executive order warning that sanctions would be imposed on Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad and other leaders in the Tigray conflict. The threat was made weeks ago.
The situation seems to have worsened. Tigray forces claim that Ethiopia’s government launched a long-delayed major military offensive against them to end the war. An earlier statement by the Tigray foreign affairs office stated that hundreds of thousands had been launched by irregular and irregular fighters from Ethiopia.
Kenya shares a border area with Ethiopia. The U.S. has had a longstanding relationship with Kenya. Washington partners with Kenya in its efforts to defeat Islamic terrorist attacks.
Kenya holds the U.N. Security Council presidency, which rotates monthly. This is one reason Kenyatta is currently in the United States. Kenya has also been vocal among African countries regarding the war in Ethiopia.
Kenyatta spoke to reporters at U.N. Tuesday to say that the two sides must reach a “political resolution” because they don’t believe there is a military solution.
As it examines potential targets that could be subject to sanctions, the Biden administration is currently conducting an interagency assessment. According to a senior administration official, the review is part of an effort to ensure that all agencies are “fully onboard” with the proposed targets.
If there isn’t a significant shift in the situation on the ground, then the Biden administration said that it will quickly move to implement sanctions. The United Nations warned that hundreds are suffering from human-made famines as the conflict continues.
Ethiopia’s government has rejected international interference in its affairs. Recent emphasis has been on African solutions to the crisis which has resulted in thousands of deaths, many from starvation.
U.S. and United Nations claim that Ethiopian troops prevented trucks carrying food and aid from passing through Ethiopia. According to The Associated Press, scores of people are starving.
Kenyatta meets with him as Kenyan leaders are facing scrutiny about offshore holdings discovered in the Pandora Papers.
Kenyatta is among more than 330 politicians who were identified as being beneficiaries of secret accounts revealed in recent reporting by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The ICIJ discovered that while Kenyatta was a public advocate against corruption, his family hid about $30 million worth of offshore wealth.
According to an administration official, the Pandora Papers revelations will be discussed at the Oval Office meeting.