Ethiopia, United States hold bilateral defense conference

Ethiopian defense officials and their counterparts from the United Sates hold the 8th bilateral defense conference in Addis Ababa.

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor was joined by Principal Director for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense Michelle Lenihan. In acknowledgement of Ethiopia’s commitment to lasting reforms, Ambassador Raynor stressed that the United States is viewed the meetings in a different context than previous iterations.

“The United States strongly supports Ethiopia’s reform agenda, and we believe that the changes Ethiopia is undertaking will strengthen not only this country’s prosperity, governance, and stability, but the U.S.-Ethiopia partnership as well. We are engaging with an Ethiopia that has new priorities that offer broader scope for cooperation than before,” he said. The Ambassador further expressed U.S. appreciation for Ethiopia’s essential role in regional security.

“This role is not only military; Ethiopia’s political leadership in facilitating the regional rapprochement with Eritrea, for example, and its revitalized outreach to other countries in the region including Djibouti and Somalia, are equally important.”

“Thanks to such efforts, the goal of an integrated and peaceful Horn of Africa is something we can now envision, not in the distant future, but in our lifetimes. For that to happen, Ethiopia’s continued constructive engagement, both diplomatically and in terms of security cooperation, will remain essential,” he said.

During the course of the meeting, participants discussed new opportunities for collaboration and cooperation toward mutual goals of lasting stability and security in Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa, and beyond.

In another development, U.S. Senior Commercial Officer Chris Wilken attended a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity, (MOWIE) and Xylem of the United States. Xylem is a leading U.S. company in developing and implementing innovative water solutions through smart technology.

At the event, Chris highlighted the importance of strong partnerships, “As Ethiopia moves ahead with its impressive reform effort, the United States sees a role for American companies like Xylem, to explore how they can build partnerships that create opportunities for Ethiopia and the U.S. alike.”

“From the United States’ perspective, partnerships should be mutually beneficial. That principle of mutual benefit is what underlies our concept of a successful partnership. Partnerships are about identifying an opportunity and applying resources for a result that benefits everyone involved.”

Mr. Wilken added, “as Ethiopia’s strongest bilateral partner for development, the United States knows how critical the management of Ethiopia’s water resources is for the country’s future. Water cuts across nearly every aspect of U.S. development support, underscoring investments in the health and well-being of Ethiopians by ensuring them access to safe, clean water. Used for drinking, hygiene, and health care, water is also needed to irrigate crops, feed livestock and develop renewable energy. Scarce water supplies can become potential sources of conflict around the world.”

Through this MOU, Xylem will explore how its unique set of skills and technologies can be used to help Ethiopia address its water challenges.

The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia congratulates Xylem and MOWIE on their MOU and looks forward to learning more about their partnership is it proceeds.