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Musings From Abroad

US expels Burkina Faso from African Growth Opportunity programme. Here’s why

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The recent military incursion in the political leadership of Burkina Faso has cost it its place as the US has dropped the West African country from its AGOA trade preference programme.

The United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) office said on Sunday the decision was based on deep concerns over “unconstitutional change” in government in the West African country.

Since August 2020, the West Africa sub-region has been rocked by two coups in Mali, one in Guinea, and one in Burkina Faso which had another coup in 2022 to make a count of two coups in eight months.

Burkina Faso’s foreign affairs ministry has maintained its November statement that the timetable for a return to democracy had not changed.

The U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provides sub-Saharan African nations with duty-free access to the United States if they meet certain eligibility requirements, such as eliminating barriers to US trade and investment and making progress toward political pluralism.

The USTR’s office said Burkina Faso had failed to meet the requirements of the AGOA statute and would be given “clear benchmarks” for a pathway toward reinstatement to the trade program, adding that Washington would work with the Burkinabe government.

The military administrations in the West African sub-region have characterised by a strained relationship with the international community. Last month, the military junta in Burkina Faso declared the United Nations coordinator in the country, Italian Barbara Manzi, “persona non grata” and “asked to leave the country.”

Burkina’s neighbour Mali, also caught up in a serious security crisis, expelled Olivier Salgado, the spokesman for the United Nations Mission in Mali (Minusma), for publishing “unacceptable information” the day after the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers in Bamako.

Musings From Abroad

US Secretary, Anthony Blinken, reveals concern over human rights in Egypt

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The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has revealed that the US is concerned over human right abuses in North African country, Egypt.

Blinken made the position known During a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, noting that the development top item on the agenda in talks with Egypt’s president and foreign minister during a visit to Cairo on Monday.

Blinken said the United States would continue to encourage Egypt to take further actions on human rights, including releasing more political prisoners and reforming pre-trial detention.

He also said holding elections in Libya this year was the only viable path to a durable solution in the country.

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Musings From Abroad

Months after truce with Tigray region, US official insists Eritrean troops still at Ethiopian borders

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Months after peace was brokered between crises involving the Ethiopian government, Eritrea, and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, a senior United State official has revealed Eritrean troops are still in Ethiopia although they have moved back the border.

The United State Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said at a news conference during a visit to the Kenyan capital Nairobi, that “with respect to Eritreans we understand they have moved back to the border and they have been asked to leave.”

The alleged presence of the Eritrean troops contradicts Ethiopian authorities’ position on the departure of the Eritreans who fought alongside the Ethiopian military and allied militias in the two-year conflict that pitted the Ethiopian government against rebellious forces in the northern region of Tigray.

Meanwhile, the allegation has been denied by a senior Ethiopia military officer briefing foreign officials on Saturday.

“There is no other security force in the Tigray region except the FDRE Defense Forces,” Major General Teshome Gemechu said, using an acronym for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government nor any of its officials have made official reactions to the allegations. The government spokesperson Legesse Tulu, Redwan Hussein, national security advisor to the prime minister, and Colonel Getnet Adane, spokesperson to Ethiopian Army also did not respond to requests for comment on claims by Thomas-Greenfield and Getachew.

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