U.S. President Joe Biden raised concerns about airstrikes in the conflict in northern Ethiopia and human rights issues during a call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday, the White House said.
Mr Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to working alongside the African Union and regional partners to help Ethiopians peacefully resolve the conflict,” the White House said in a readout of the call.
“Both leaders underscored the importance of the U.S.-Ethiopia relationship, the potential to strengthen cooperation on a range of issues, and the need for concrete progress to resolve the conflict,” it added.
The White House also said that Biden “commended” Abiy for announcing last week that the government would release high-profile political prisoners and that the two discussed ways to negotiate a ceasefire in the region amid ongoing violence.
In a tweet, Abiy characterised the phone call as “candid” and said it covered Ethiopia and regional issues as well as bilateral relations.
“We both agree there is great value in strengthening our cooperation through constructive engagement founded on mutual respect,” Mr Abiy wrote.
The phone call took place two months after the Biden administration unveiled sanctions targeting the Eritrean government over the conflict in Ethiopia, which has persisted for more than a year.
The Eritrean government has aligned itself with the central Ethiopian government in fighting rebel Tigrayan forces in northern Ethiopia.
An executive order that Mr Biden signed in September also empowered the departments of Treasury and State to impose sanctions against the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, but the administration has not yet sanctioned individuals or groups affiliated with those parties to the conflict.
Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed or wounded by airstrikes in Ethiopia over the past few months.
Reuters reported that aid workers said an Ethiopian military airstrike in the Tigray region late last week killed 56 people and wounded at least 30 in a camp for individuals displaced by the conflict.
Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, a senior Biden administration official characterised the call between Biden and Abiy as “businesslike,” “serious” and “substantive.”
The official said Mr Biden made clear that he wants to see the Ethiopian army cease airstrikes and stop going into the Tigray region, expand humanitarian access and engage in ceasefire talks.
Osun education policy attracts over N2 billion alumni fund, says Gov. Oyetola
Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun says his administration has attracted over N2 billion in alumni contribution across the state since the review of its education policy.
Mr Oyetola, who was represented by Folorunso Oladoyin, Commissioner for Education, made the disclosure on Saturday at the 60th anniversary of St. John’s Grammar School, Ile-Ife, organised by the Old Students Association, at the school playground.
“Since the reform of education policy that we carried out, we have attracted over N2 billion intervention fund from old students across the state.
“We thank you for your quick intervention in the structural renewal of your school infrastructures.
“We are immensely grateful that you heeded our call for a partnership between the government and all stakeholders in the education sector to move education to the next level.
“Our vision is to deliver 21st-century education that will make our student to be globally competitive, we realise that the four legs on which education stands like a table must corporate and work together.
“We have introduced policies that are impacting education which will attract public schools to the middle and upper class,” he said.
The Chairman of Organising Committee of the Anniversary, Gbenga Adefaye, said the association was not happy with the way the past administration practically destroyed education by decentralising school in Osun.
Mr Adefaye, however, commended the governor for restoring the name, uniform and for collaborating with stakeholders to transform the school.
Comoros to face Cameroon without goalkeeper as COVID-19, injury hit squad
Debutants in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, Comoros, will be without a goalkeeper and coach Amir Abdou on Monday as they face hosts and five-time champions Cameroon in Yaounde.
Their giant-killers camp has been hit by 12 positive COVID-19 tests, affecting seven players, including the two remaining goalkeepers in the squad.
And this has come with their number one goalkeeper Ben Boina being out through injury.
Officials of the team have, however, assured that they were working round the clock to “do everything in our power to find a solution,” according to the team general manager, El Hadad Himidi.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had earlier ruled that teams affected by COVID-19 must play matches even if they have no recognised goalkeeper in their squad.
“A team will be required to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players available who have tested negative.
“In the event of the absence of a goalkeeper, another player from the team must replace the goalkeeper, provided the total number of available players is at least 11.
“In exceptional cases, the Organising Committee of the Africa Cup of Nations will take the appropriate decision,” CAF had stated.
Comoros will now be hoping that the injury suffered by Boina could be considered an exceptional case.
This is because the goalkeeper sustained the injury and had to leave the field following a challenge which led to Ghana’s Andre Ayew being sent off.
Comoros had shocked Ghana 3-2 to eliminate the Black Stars and qualify for the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.
Nothing can make me return to party politics, Obasanjo tells Iyorchia Ayu
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday restated his decision to stay off party politics, saying nothing can make him return.
Mr Obasanjo said this while addressing journalists after a closed-door meeting with members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abeokuta.
The former president said he was contented to remain as an elder statesman. “I want to emphasise that I am no longer in partisan politics and there is nothing that will bring me back to partisan politics.
“I will always be interested in what is good for Nigeria and anybody who wants to have my advice, I will distinctively give it in the best interest of Nigeria and in the best interest of Africa.
“This is why I have the type of responsibility that I now have in the horn of Africa, which is not an easy thing,” the former president said.
He, however, said that PDP would continue to be part of his life history because he attained the position of the president on the platform of the party.
“I have been with the party right from inception. Whatever I do in my life, because I became president on the platform of PDP, the party will continue to be part of history of my life.
“I must, however, add that the day my ward decided to tear my PDP card, was the day I ceased to be a member of PDP. And that day, I vowed that I will no longer be a member of any political party.
“I will remain a statesman in Nigeria, West Africa, Africa and indeed in the world at large.
“Though, I have retired from partisan politics, but I cannot retire from the welfare and wellbeing of the people, whether in my own community, in my own state, in my own country, anywhere in Africa or indeed anywhere in the world.”
Mr Obasanjo said the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, has a huge responsibility in restoring the lost glory of the opposition party.
Speaking, Mr Ayu said that the tenure of Mr Obasanjo as Nigeria’s president on the platform of the PDP, remained the golden era of the party.
“During that period, not only did you grow Nigeria’s economy to be the biggest in Africa, you were able to take the country away from slavery by negotiating and cancelling so much of its foreign debts.
“The Direct Foreign Investment (FDI) in the country was on the increase on daily basis with attendant respect for Nigeria from the international community.
“Most of the institutions and agencies set up during your tenure, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), are still useful in the country.
“You are very passionate about this country and you did a lot. So, we thought we should come and thank you for what you have done, not just for Nigerians, but also for our party and the African continent.
“Though, you retired from partisan politics, partisan politics will never retire from your blood.
“You always want the right thing done and since you want the right thing done, for life, you will remain the emeritus member of the PDP. You cannot build a house and leave it to collapse,” Mr Ayu added.
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