Jendayi Frazer labeled Meles and Isayas as the twin “stubborn leaders” – By Muluneh Yohannes, Seattle, WA

June 2nd, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs delivered a lecture on “The Future of Africa and U.S. Foreign Policy” at the Seattle based University of Washington Campus.

The Bureau of African Affairs and its involvement in Africa

Under the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of African Affairs is in charge of the broader Sub-Saharan Africa region. The Bureau identified three key challenges to African leaders in the years ahead: consolidating democratic gains, expanding economic growth, and stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS. (more…)

Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs delivered a lecture on “The Future of Africa and U.S. Foreign Policy” at the Seattle based University of Washington Campus.

The Bureau of African Affairs and its involvement in Africa

Under the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of African Affairs is in charge of the broader Sub-Saharan Africa region. The Bureau identified three key challenges to African leaders in the years ahead: consolidating democratic gains, expanding economic growth, and stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS. According to the information from the State Department, American Foreign Policy towards Africa focuses on the following fields of cooperation: African Education Initiative, African Growth and Opportunity Act, Malaria Initiative, HIV/AIDS Initiative, Women’s Justice and Empowerment Initiative, Confidence and Security Building Measures.

Ambassador Frazer’s speech

The Assistant Secretary delivered a 15 to 20 minutes speech. The Ambassador highlighted that the U.S. is committed in building institutions and further strengthening strategic partnership with Africa. She specifically identified four major U.S. Foreign Policy priorities in Africa:

• The first one is the broader collaboration with the people of Africa on mutual interests.
• The second priority is Expansion of Economic Growth. The Ambassador stressed that the Bush Administration is committed for Debt Cancellation; pending endorsement from congress, 3.8 billion loans signed for health and education investment; 90 % duty free for African products of the AGOA agreement (African Growth and Opportunity Act) with fourteen Nations resulted in the current 11 trillion dollars trade exchange between the U.S. and Africa. Moreover, America targets to help the African Financial Market in the form of 100% Debt Relief amounting 42 billion dollars.
• The third area of cooperation dwells in the Fight Against Disease. Assistant Secretary Frazer quoted President Bush as saying “A baby should not die just because of the bite of a mosquito”. Accordingly, the Bush administration set a 15 billion dollars five year’s budget to tackle HIV/AIDS and a further 30 billion dollars is requested in 2007. Another 3.5 billion dollars is under utilization to tackle the deadly malaria epidemic.
• The last major area of cooperation of the U.S. with Africa is Peace Initiatives. The Assistant Secretary recalls the prime role of the U.S. in peace negotiations in Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sera Leon, and the North-South Sudan conflict. Jendayi was upfront with the huge task left in conflict management and resolution. She did not hide her frustration on the highly volatile Horn of Africa situation.

Challenge surfaced on the question and answer session

There were about 200 attendees of the lecture comprising students and staff members of the campus. However, the majority of the audience was the Diaspora community from Africa, specifically from Horn of Africa. Ambassador Frazer was bombarded with emotional pleas and questions from Ethiopians, Somalis, Eritreans, Sudanese, and from the self proclaimed Independent Somali Landers. The long time friend and old classmate of Dr. Jendayi, Dr. Sanjeev Khagram moderated the Q&A session with huge difficulty and in a protective way of his guest. Two days before the event, Ethiomedia requested to have an interview with the Assistant Secretary. Our request was pushed away and communicated to us through the same Dr. Sanjeev. The following are some of the highlights of the Q&A period.

When asked about the U.S. role in the Horn of Africa crisis engulfing Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, the Ambassador explained the region as a “very, very, very hot region for current and future U.S. administrations”. The majority of the audience was from the Horn of Africa region and undoubtedly, brought burning questions. Shakespear Feyissa, an Ethiopian-American Lawyer confronted Frazer on why the U.S. has done little or nothing about the mass killings and arrests of innocent civilians, imprisonment of elected opposition officials and civic society leaders following the 2005 controversial Ethiopian election. The lawyer specifically asked why the Assistant Secretary herself and her administration ignored the dictatorial actions of Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia. As soon as Shakespear finished his high-toned question, the room was erupted with an overwhelming noise of support. The moderator seemed to panic and ordered the house not ask questions about Ethiopia. Frazer attempted to address the question and differed with Shakespear on the level of American response. She argued that they pressured Meles on the release of the prisoners and related matters.

Dr. Frazer was also asked about the policy of the U.S. on the Ethio-Eritrea border conflict. The Ambassador was frank to argue that her personal belief and stand was not to involve in this matter. However, she said that she had to do the job as instructed by her boss. According to Dr. Jendayi, President Issayas of Eritrea further complicated the matter when he chose not to deal with America. She clarified that her office and Secretary Rice have been attempting to reach Issayas with no success at all simply because the “President of Eritrea does not return our phone calls”. When she gave reasons on why President Issayas is unfriendly towards the U.S. she indicated one turning point. According to the Ambassador, President Issayas was offended when the U.S. put Ethiopia along Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya as one of the four major Strategic Countries to America. Eritrea directly asked America to remove Ethiopia from the list and Eritrea itself to take the place. Frazer mentioned that Eritrea offered an Island base for the U.S. military and it was declined because it was not needed. That also angered Issayas Afeworki. Subsequently, there is no meaningful diplomatic relationship and the Ambassador stressed that the U.S. has limited leverage over Eritrea. However, she was not short of warning the tiny Horn of Africa Nation for serving as a base for Islamic extremists. Dr. Jendayi believes that Eritrea’s support to extremists is not because of Ideological conformity, but rather Issayas is focused so much in deposing the Meles Zenawi regime in Ethiopia.

On the Somali crisis, she made it clear that the U.S. expects Ethiopia to leave Somali after making sure of the uncertainty of power vacuum. She expressed her concern on the slow African Union response. Dr. Jendayi was also asked how America handles the different Somali faction groups. She argued that the U.S. has no enemy in Africa and openly or otherwise we dialogue with all Somali Faction leaders including the extremists.

Dr. Jendayi recognized the fast paced China involvement in Africa and she mentioned that Africa would become one of the new power centers because of the hugely untapped human and natural resources. The Ambassador confessed that her African Bureau is full of junior diplomats with limited or no experience to deal with high stake issues in Africa.

Another audience asked if there is a chance for the U.S. to settle the Ethio-Eritrea dispute. Jendayi Frazer, with a tone of frustration, labeled Meles and Isayas as the twin “stubborn leaders”.

Note: information from the U.S. Department of State used for this report.

The writer can be reached at muleur@yahoo.com

  1. Medhanit
    | #1

    “That the U.S. has no enemy”, said Jenday Frazer.
    Ok that is excellent! But let her tell us also how many enemies have the U.S. got for the distorted policies carried out by the Assistant secretaries like her?! Why did she prefer to defend the known dictator of genocide Melese Zenawi, whose atrocities are recorded to the whole World by the international Human rights group?
    What hinder her from defending the defenseless?
    Was the reason to her silence Power? Money ?

  2. Medhanit
    | #2

    “That the U.S. has no enemy in Africa”, said Jenday Frazer.Ok that is excellent! But let her tell us also how many enemies have the U.S. got in the world for the distorted policies carried out by the Assistant secretaries like her?! Why did she prefer to defend the known dictator of genocide Melese Zenawi, whose atrocities are recorded to the whole World by the international Human rights group? What hinder her from defending the defenseless? Was the reason to her silence Power? Money ?

  3. one ethiopia
    | #3

    Eritreayans you are the most confused people I never see. You cont be friend with U S A and terrorist at the same time you need to choose one. Pleas use your brain if you have any. You ask US to be their ally but they reject you? ha ha ha ha ha. Fascist meles zanawe stile misleading the United States to gate their support. We don’t need anther fascist from the north. Isayas We Ethiopians know why you went to be US ally. You gust went their support to kill incant Ethiopians. By misleading US you are fighting terrorist Like your cousin fascist meles zanawe sham on you. Unbelievable we Ethiopians stile sleeping while the shabians (not all eritreayans) working 24 hours to kill us? Sham on us.

  4. sele
    | #4

    To one ethiopian,What are you talking about,It embaressing to say i am ethiopian at this time.don’t compere your self with eritreans,you guyes are way way behaind,it is amezinig there is drought in the 21st cen.people are dieing.I don’t think it will happen in Eritrea.Stop bleaming Eritra for every thing.Ok tell me what is Eritrean government mistek?Is it becoues they refues any assistant from out side Like your embaressing government.ande kene erdataw bekom mene edmthonu enay neber,maybe you guys start begging from Eritrea becoues begging is in your blood.please leave Issayas alone,He is a Hero,and nightmare to woyane,thanx

  5. one ethiopia
    | #5

    sele first read everything before you make a comment, you talking about begging how about issayas going and back to those arebe country? is that for vacation? you stupid mother f***

  6. Efrem
    | #6

    I have seen Frazers performance on Video and it is
    unbelievable to read such lies written on what she have said .I know that Ethiomeda is against Eritrea ,but such blatant Fabrication????????“President of Eritrea does not return our phone calls” She never said that.Eritrea directly asked America to remove Ethiopia from the list and Eritrea itself to take the place. Frazer mentioned that Eritrea offered an Island base for the U.S. military and it was declined because it was not needed. That also angered Issayas Afeworki. Subsequently, there is no meaningful diplomatic relationship and the Ambassador stressed that the U.S. has limited leverage over Eritrea.when did She said that????

  7. almaz
    | #7

    It is so sad to have such backword two dangerous people and their notorious followers both in Eth and Ertrea.Isayas’s father is from Temben, Ethiopia,Melese’s father is from Tigria his mother is Ertrean.Both countries lead with both Ethiopians and Eritreans.Esat kayew men leyew.I don’t see any difference between the two.Which is amazing is some foolish from both countries divided themselves and practice hatred.You fools when are you coming to your senses.You have been viictims of these 2 notorious gang leaders.For how ling they control you?

  8. Aselefu
    | #8

    It is amazing how situations develop for the better at the horn of Africa and some dicatators are having a hard time falling asleep. USA choose Ethiopia because they know how honest Ethiopians are. Issaias has doublecrossed all of his best friends (Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen, Arab league, China, Russia,…. and fellow Eritreans), Why should USA choose Eritrea with such a madman in power. His problem is not fixing his own country’s problem but rather an ambition of creating chaos in Ethiopia. He is creating havoc to appease his Egyptian masters. Cowtowing to Egypt wont get Eritrea anywhere. Americans know this. Issaias knows that Americans know that he is an opportunist who flip flops depending on who would prolong his miserable life. When the time is ready, a regime change will occur by force in Eritrea. The day will come when Ethiopian troops would be welcomed as liberators on the streets of Asmara. Ethiopians would be doing the world a favor by removing this tumor from Africa. A punk is a punk even if dressed in a suit.

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